Newcastle United boasted a strong bench as they won at Swansea City on Sunday and substitutes such as Florian Lejeune and Jonjo Shelvey might have worried that their team-mates performed so well in their absence.
Yet there was even more cause for concern for Chancel Mbemba, not fit enough to travel to Wales with the team while Jesus Gamez excelled on the left.
Having been a key man in Steve McClaren's Newcastle team after signing from Anderlecht, Mbemba has struggled somewhat under Rafa Benitez.
Initially continuing as a fixture in the side, Mbemba's place came under threat with the signing of Ciaran Clark last year and he soon found himself on the fringes of the squad.
Returning to perform well in the final weeks of a Championship-winning campaign, the defender was then granted his chance again in the Premier League when Lejeune and Paul Dummett were injured on the opening day.
After performing well out of position at left-back, Mbemba was dealt a further blow in the international break as he suffered an injury with DR Congo.
While his lay-off will not be as long as first feared - per the Chronicle - it kept him out of the Swansea game and handed a chance to Gamez, who stepped in to great effect.
Gamez may not defend quite as well as Mbemba, but he looks comfortable going forward and has a wealth of experience, which he used to shackle Renato Sanches.
As Mikel Merino has shown in Shelvey's place, Benitez favours those in the team and playing well; Mbemba may struggle to regain a first-team berth.