Chelsea secured a routine 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend in the FA Cup fourth round and it was a fairly mild affair.
But aside from a Gonzalo Higuain debut and a Callum Hudson-Odoi goal, it was perhaps most significant for the return of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
The Blues welcomed back the 23-year-old as a second-half substitute and it was the first time he has featured since 2 January, with a back injury keeping him out of action.
Loftus-Cheek was beginning to make a real senior impact at Stamford Bridge before his setback and his absence of late has been noticeable.
Maurizio Sarri’s team have massively missed the English midfielder in their team and his return should boost them.
Chelsea have won their last two games with victories in the FA Cup and Carabao Cup to get back on track, but they have had serious problems in midfield.
Sarri’s attacking style of football is based on dominating possession and creating chances, but there has been a distinct lack of creativity from midfield.
Loftus-Cheek should provide some much-needed ruthlessness to the centre of the park, as he can create goalscoring problems far greater than N’Golo Kante or Jorginho.
He has already scored six goals across all competitions this campaign in just 18 games and has the qualities to become a crucial Chelsea player.
Loftus-Cheek, who earns £35,000-a-week (Spotrac), improved during his loan spell last season with Crystal Palace and is a powerhouse that can dominate midfield areas.
Sarri’s answer to his team’s lack of cohesion is staring him right in the face, as Loftus-Cheek has to get the nod over Ross Barkley and Mateo Kovacic when he gets back to full fitness.