It was the perfect storm. The premier league champions had lost their first game of the season to Burnley FC, who’d barely avoided relegation last season. They also had four starters out to suspension and injury, and their next game was an away derby against Tottenham. Their manager had signed a new contract on increased wages, but ominously, no extension.

Ex-Chelsea players Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic, Kevin de Bruyne and Mo Salah were showing themselves to be among the best players in their respective positions in the premier league – playing for Chelsea’s title rivals.

And want-away striker Diego Costa sat above the entire dismal mess, firing furious demands and accusations at his club from a distance, like thunderbolts from some angry Azteca god. […]