The importance or otherwise of Chelsea's last-gasp 1-0 victory over Everton on Saturday will not be known until the end of the season. But some results mean more than others, and the way the Blues grabbed three points at the death suggests they have every chance of holding the Premier League trophy aloft come May.
One decision from Jose Mourinho that may not have got as many headlines in the wake of John Terry's late winner was the substitution of Oscar for Ramires.
The Chelsea boss has already revealed that the former is suffering somewhat with fatigue and the English conditions during the winter, and his mid-season lull continued against the Toffees.
When Ramires came on, Chelsea had an added spark, an additional forward-drive that is highlighted by the direction of Ramires's passes compared with those of his countryman.
Ramires played three more accurate passes than Oscar on Saturday, but he played the ball forward 11 times compared with Oscar doing so on just two occasions. The second-half sub also had considerably more touches of the ball.
|Player||Accurate Pass||Key Pass||Touches||Fwd Pass||Mins|
Ramires also got his foot in, as he is prone to do, winning twice as many tackles and recovering the ball twice as many times as the man he replaced. He also had two scoring attempts to Oscar's one.
|Player||Won Tackle||Ball Recovery||Total Scoring Att||Mins|
In short, Ramires stepped up and helped Chelsea to a much-needed win, and while Terry and Frank Lampard grabbed the headlines, the midfielder played his part.
Such is the squad depth at Stamford Bridge, that when a player who was arguably Chelsea's best at the start of the campaign takes a dip in form, there are others ready and waiting to pick up the slack.
image: © Jason Bagley