It is a long time since Chris Sutton spent the unhappiest season of his career with Gianluca Vialli's Chelsea.
But, seven years on from a miserable campaign in which he scored only one goal in 21 starts as a Chelsea player, the former £10 million Stamford Bridge misfit will return there as a free transfer signing with Aston Villa tomorrow night intent on becoming the Premiership's bargain buy of the season.
And, following a highly encouraging debut against another of Sutton's old clubs Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, his new Villa team-mates clearly believe there is life in the old dog yet.
Villa centre-half Olof Mell-berg is the first to admit that, for a player only eight short of a double century of goals, Sutton is a real handful judged purely as a target man - as he proved by having a hand in both Villa goals against Rovers.
"I've never had to face him," Mellberg said, "but he can be a problem for defenders.
"When you put the long balls in, he battles hard and is good in the air and is a difficult player to play against.
"It is good for us at the back when we have got someone who can hold the ball up like he did. That's also Juan Pablo Angel's strength.
"For the first time in a long time, we played with two target players up front and I thought it worked.
"We could feel it on the long balls. Chris won quite a lot of them and was able to hold the ball up and that helped us at the back as well.
"He did really well and we were able to push forward much quicker and easier to put pressure on opponents.
"Maybe we didn't threaten that much in behind them apart from Gabby Agbonlahor, if he tries to get on the end of a flick-on, but it is a bit different. We have a little bit more possession and we are able to squeeze up a little bit more.
"We did really well when we played 4-5-1 earlier in the season before Luke Moore got injured. It seemed to suit us really well and maybe we have struggled since we swapped over but we have now shown we can play the 4-4-2 system as well."
While the return of the reassuring presence of Gavin McCann after injury was also a big factor in midfield, apart from Sutton's inclusion, manager Martin O'Neill's other change was to bring in Martin Laursen at centre-half when Liam Ridgewell pulled out with the flu.
Now O'Neill has a real decision on his hands if Ridgewell is fit. But the Villa boss may be reluctant to switch again after how Laursen combined with Mellberg.
"Laursen was outstanding," O'Neill said. "But then he has always played well for us.
"He came back only after Ridgewell called in sick but I don't think he lost a header, and he combined pretty well with Olof. The two of them were terrific."
O'Neill also has to check on Sutton's fitness, after the 33-year-old pulled up with cramp in the closing stages of Sunday's game. But, with an unusually large away following of 6,000 there to roar them on at Stamford Bridge  thanks to the generosity of chairman Randy Lerner in laying on free coaches  he leads the genuine feeling of belief in the Villa camp that they can cause an upset.
Villa will have to go one better than the 1-1 draw managed there in the Premiership more than a month ago, courtesy of an Agbonlahor equaliser. But, in a tie that has to be settled on the night, O'Neill says: "I would give us a chance because of the fact that we played very well down there a couple of weeks ago.
"It's a tough one as Chelsea have a squad to match any competition and they will not take it lightly but, although it's a tall order, we are capable and to be backed by 6,000 supporters is fantastic."
* Ronaldinho has been voted FIFPro's player of the year for the 2005-06 season. The Barcelona and Brazil playmaker received most nominations from the 43,000 players who were invited to cast their vote on the best players of last season. FIFPro is the worldwide representative organisation for all professional footballers.