Chelsea began their revival with a comfortable 2-0 victory at FC Copenhagen in their Champions League last-16 first-leg clash at the Parken Stadium.
A largely unexpected outcome was sealed when Nicholas Anelka scored a brace to extend his remarkable Champions League scoring record to seven goals in six games, giving Chelsea a well-deserved win.
Before the match, many expected Chelsea to face a very tough, confident Copenhagen side who hadn't lost at home in the Champions League for three years. They had qualified for the knock-outs second behind Barcelona in the group stages, in which even the might Catalans went visiting to Copenhagen only to return with a 1-1 draw.
However, Chelsea were on the front foot from the word go. Their manager Carlo Ancelotti had opted to go for a front-two of Fernando Torres and Anelka, dropping Didier Drogba to the bench - a huge gamble, considering the stature of Drogba. But Ancelotti would have been relieved after Torres' performance. The Spaniard was much more energetic, linked well with his new team mates and also displayed signs of an understanding with Anelka - something which Ancelotti would have noticed.
Copenhagen looked rusty and Chelsea's relentless attacks paid off within 17 minutes. However, the assist came from an unlikely source. Former Chelsea man Jesper Gronkjaer misplaced a backpass which allowed Anelka to jump onto to it, drive into the box and shoot across Wiland to open the scoring.
The goal gave Chelsea some much needed confidence and they maintained the pressure on the home side's backline. Though his overall performance had improved, Torres was shabby with his finishing, and missed a host of half-chances which he normally would have converted. It wasn't just Torres missing chances though, as Cole, Anelka and Malouda were all guilty of fumbling opportunities.
The second half began with Copenhagen on the attack. The home side had brought on Martin Vingaard for Santin during the interval, and the new man immediately had an impact when drawing a good save from Cech with a shot from distance. He had another long range attempt squandered by Cech as the home side looked a different side to the one from the first half.
However, Chelsea's knock-out punch followed soon after. At 54 minutes, Anelka was slipped in through a brilliant reverse ball from Lampard and the Frenchman made no mistake in slotting past Wiland.
It was all Chelsea from then, with Torres seeing two further attempts saved brilliantly. Copenhagen rarely threatened and with two away goals to their name, Chelsea are poised to qualify for the quarter-finals unless Copenhagen produce a miracle in the second-leg at Stamford Bridge.
In the day's other game, Real Madrid were denied their first win against Lyon when a late Befetimbi Gomis strike earned the home side a 1-1 draw.
After dominating the first half, Lyon should have gone into half-time with at least a 1-0 lead. However, Gomis was guilty of missing a sitter from ten yards after a mistake from from Iker Casillas. Madrid fought back in the second half and came close when Cristiano Ronaldo hit the post with a direct free-kick, and Sergio Ramos found the crossbar off a corner. They also felt they were denied a penalty when Ronaldo's free-kick came off a defenders hand. However, the referee waved play on.
As chance would have it, it was former Lyon star Karim Benzema who scored for Madrid after converting Ronaldo's pass with a determined finish through the legs of Lyon keeper Hugo Lloris. However, Lyon maintained their unbeaten run against Madrid when Gomis made amends for his earlier miss and calmly finished from six yards out after receiving a knock-down from Cris.