Frank Lampard returns to Stamford Bridge for the first time tomorrow - and he does so a Chelsea legend.
His summer departure was widely viewed as a fitting natural conclusion to his Blues career, with Jose Mourinho ready to move on to younger and fitter alternatives and Lampard set for a final swansong to a memorable career in MLS.
How quickly things change.
Lampard will arrive at Stamford Bridge with a real opportunity to inflict a meaningful blow to Chelsea's Premier League title challenge. He's already hurt Chelsea once this season, coming off the bench to score for his new club Manchester City in their first fixture at the Etihad Stadium.
He's proven, in his brief time at City, that he remains a sharply effective Premier League player when used cleverly.
His five Premier League goals have salvaged precious points for City, and it's perfectly conceivable that he will play a key role in keeping Mourinho's men from certain trophies this season.
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Manuel Pellegrini has managed his minutes and deployed Lampard as a late game weapon. He comes on when City need a goal, and he comes on when City need his experience to keep things simple.
It's too much to say that Chelsea miss his presence in central midfield, after all in Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic, they boast the league's best partnership.
But it's also foolish to think that Mourinho could not have used a player like Lampard in his squad, that he would have no place for a player of his ability with Chelsea fighting on so many fronts.
Football fans are strange creatures, and for some reason there's been a flurry of reports in the build-up to tomorrow's game calling on Chelsea fans to refrain from booing Lampard.
Can I just stop you right there. If you are a Chelsea fan and are seriously considering booing Lampard tomorrow, then I'm sorry, but you're not a Chelsea fan.
The man is a club legend, a midfielder with so much attacking quality that he features in the Premier League's list of all-time top scorers. He helped the club to win its first Premier League titles and first Champions League trophy.
And this against Bolton…
How about this…
He's not a one-club man like JT, and it did stick in the throat when he signed for City, a clear rival for the title.
But Lampard is Chelsea and Chelsea is Lampard. He deserves every respect when he returns to Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
He may be wearing the sky blue of Manchester, but he's a true Blue at heart.
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