Chelsea's hot six-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League came to end on Saturday at the hands Manchester City.
Despite the Blues going toe-to-toe throughout, even taking the lead, Pep Guardiola's City had the cutting edge to claim a hard-fought 2-1 win at the Etihad.
Frank Lampard could still hold his head high at the final whistle having taken one of Europe's elite all the way and there was great respect between opponents at different stages in their managerial life cycle.
Compliments to Chelsea
Fewer were in finer form than Chelsea when they entered the home of the champions, having lost just twice since a defeat to Liverpool on the 22nd of September.
Victory for City meant the Reds’ lead at the top of the table was thinly sliced to a nine-points, which could have been greater had the Blues battered off the threat from their hosts.
N'Golo Kante opened the scoring with a tidy finish, Kevin De Bruyne's shot was fortunately deflected into Kepa Arrizbalaga net to equalise before a masterful moment from Riyad Mahrez put City in front, all this action commencing in the first half.
And Guardiola was well aware of the task his side had overcome, in the face of a fearless Chelsea, paying homage to the visitors and their boss.
"We beat an incredible top side, Frank is a brave manager, courageous to play," he told the Guardian after their breathless encounter.
"Chelsea are an incredible team, we knew it but we beat them. It was a typical high-level game."
Incomprehensible stat for City
In the dugouts stood two men with varying experience in terms of leading a football team; Guardiola has claimed 26 titles since taking over Barcelona in 2008, whereas Lampard only delved into coaching last year, taking charge of Championship outfit Derby County.
But you wouldn't have known the pair were at opposite ends of the spectrum- Chelsea took the game to City and should have got more from the tie had they found their shooting boots, with a huge chunk of luck going against them.
If any statistic represented the Blues bold approach, none were more prominent than the fact City only had 46.74% possession, the lowest of any Guardiola team in his 381 top-flight matches in charge of Barca, Bayern Munich or City.
This was down to the excellence of Kante, alongside the industry of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in midfield, the latter a player Guardiola tried to sign in the past.
The City boss did not hide away from the stat that has evaded until now, saying, "There is always one thing in your lifetime that hasn’t happened. It happened."
"So, OK, I have another record, I won one game without possession. They are an incredible team with Kanté, Kovacic, Jorginho, so it can happen."
"We were in control"
After Kante neatly slotted the ball past Ederson to put Chelsea into a deserved lead, many might have believed that City were to fall even further behind in the defence of their crown.
Yet, the frailties that have damned Lampard all campaign reared their ugly head once again; apprehensive defending allowed City space and opportunity to carve open the goal scoring chances and the two Chelsea conceded meant nobody has let in more on the road in 2019/20 (14).
Lampard was forced to address this issue again, along with all the good work that went beside it.
He told BBC Match of the Day, “It was bad luck for their first goal, and absolute quality from Riyad Mahrez for the second and that changed the game."
"Maybe we were a bit slow with our movement at the back, I know we were giving them a good game but I am disappointed with the small details."
Chelsea have flourished since Lampard took over in the summer but are still a distance off reaching the heights City have achieved under the Guardiola reign, which also appeared in the Blues boss post-match comments.
"We were playing some great stuff and we felt in control but you can't be absolutely in control against Manchester City."
"If you look at City they are an example, and we're at the absolute start of that process."