In what was easily Chelsea's toughest test of the Thomas Tuchel-era, the Blues passed the test. It would almost be understating it to call the 1-0 Champions League away victory against a very tough Atletico Madrid side a massive statement.
Chelsea played well despite a slow and worrying start, but once the squad settled in they began to resemble the team that was envisioned when originally assembled last summer. It was good to see the young players start to connect and understand their roles, against tough European competition no less.
However, what stood out the most in the first part of the Champions League Round of 16 tie was none other than Chelsea's European competition talisman: Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman's second half effort is what ultimately put Chelsea over the top on Tuesday evening. Giroud's 71st minute bicycle kick to put it past arguably one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Oblak, put the Blues over the top and they would never relinquish the lead.
For the majority of the match Atletico Madrid packed their defensive back third, essentially eliminating chances for the Blues. When they needed a spark, Giroud, the player with the third most European goals in Chelsea's history, stepped up.
In recent times, it has become almost a bit of jest to say that Giroud should be a part of every Champions League starting XI. Now, it is no longer a playful joke. The striker now has six goals in just 212 minutes of Champions League play this year, one goal nearly every 35 minutes. Chelsea is finding ways to win in Europe, and by "ways" it means Giroud.
Perhaps the best explanation is that Giroud is a veteran who understands how to play on the big stage under the big lights on European nights. The younger players respect him, he has the manager's trust, and he provides a legitimate and lethal threat in the final third.
It is a bit much to say that where Giroud goes so too will this club, but up to this point in the season that hasn't been proven wrong.
However, this club is well built for European competition, and in order to continue winning they will need the new and younger talent to come into themselves. Relying on Giroud to make magic happen can't be the answer if they want to hoist silverware in the end. He will however, continue to be the club's magical talisman in European competition.