For Maurizio Sarri, it has been that kind of season. The supporters at Stamford Bridge turned on their manager some time ago but even the sceptical locals must now cut the Italian some slack. Not that Sarri was taking his chances.
As his side wandered around the perimeter of the pitch for their lap of honour, Sarri awkwardly watched on by his dugout, studiously avoiding the potential for any further discord.
Yet after this victory, Chelsea are in pole position in a three-way battle for two Champions League places but they are now up to third, one point ahead of Tottenham, and further daylight separates them from Arsenal.
Chelsea, meanwhile, struggled for a foothold. For the first half-hour, Eden Hazard was as quiet as at any time this season while Gonzalo Higuain, Chelsea’s mannequin of a striker, once again underwhelmed for the first hour of the match.
Sarri said: ‘In the first half, we were in trouble because we were tired: physically and mentally.’
Chelsea did carve a couple of openings, comfortably seen off first when Ben Foster palmed away Jorginho’s sweeping strike and then when Adrian Mariappa slid in excellently to deny Higuain a shot on goal. Yet when half-time came, Chelsea were still to record a corner.
Fortunately, this statistic swiftly changed in the second-half and this acted as the catalyst for the game to swing Chelsea’s way.