The debate was long and ferocious. While Chelsea were said to have a quality midfield and the defence, their front-line came in for one hell of a battering. It just was not good enough, the critics said. Fernando Torres was not the player he was, Demba Ba, no thank you, and Samuel Eto'o was past it.
Well, those same critics may be tucking in to some humble pie this morning, following the Cameroon striker's hat-trick performance against Manchester United.
While one game does not a renaissance make, Sunday's showing was a very good start.
As you can see from the breakdown below, the Chelsea striker had four scoring attempts and netted from three of them. And while he only touched the ball 32 times, on three of those occasions he dispatched it past David de Gea into the visitors' net.
In short, he did what he was supposed to do, and he did it with minimal fuss.
Eto'o also played one key pass to set up a goal-scoring opportunity for a teammate, and he had a pass-completion rate of 79%. And when he left the field to be replaced by Torres, it was to enjoy the afterglow of a job well done.
But what did the fans think? Well, we took to Twitter after the match to see, and you can find a selection of them below:
I've always said Samuel Eto'o is one of the world's best strikers. You can lose your pace but you'll never lose that clinical finishing— Jimmy McNulty (@Julius_Caesar14) January 19, 2014
Samuel Eto'o joins an elite list of players that have scored hattricks against United. One of them being Dirk Kuyt...— Amith Gosai (@AMG133) January 19, 2014
Who was doubting Samuel Eto'o? Moyes has some work to do with #ManUtd— Danny Nicoll (@dannynicoll) January 19, 2014
Samuel Eto'o= first class player— Dennis Karabatsos (@DKarabatsos) January 19, 2014
Wow...I guess Samuel Eto'o is showing he still got it— Ositadinma B. Akaeme (@Igboboy4lyfe) January 19, 2014
Nice watching the legendary Samuel Eto'o roll back the years. I share the same forename as a living legend.— (@shevyblaze) January 19, 2014
image: © Jason Bagley