When Chelsea won the league last season, the team – and formation – could have been printed in the programme, just as it was in the good old days when brass bands entertained the crowds, er, rather like they still do at Stamford Bridge.
There were so few changes that the Blues became champions with, effectively, a squad of 13.
What a difference a summer makes. Fighting wars on four fronts means constant rotation, exacerbated by the apparent inability to finish games with 11 on the pitch.
The matches come thick and fast; Stoke away followed four days later by Atletico away, then Manchester City at the Bridge.
While captain Gary Cahill is back after his domestic suspension, the Blues’ defence is hobbled again with David Luiz’s ban after the late red card for a high tackle on Sead Kolasinac in front of the dugouts in the goalless draw against Arsenal.
Which presents a golden opportunity for lofty Dane Andreas Christensen to stake a claim to a regular place.
The centre-back is one of Chelsea’s longest-serving players, having signed in 2012, but being farmed out to Borussia Monchengladbach for two years meant fans at the Bridge have seen little of him… until now.
Tony Conte believes in the player (“I trust them all,” he said), and Christensen believes in himself. “I’m just trying to take the opportunity to show what I can do,” he said. “Of course it’s difficult, but I’m ready for the task.”