Chelsea are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals after a 3-2 win over Luton Town at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening.
Events on the field were rather dwarfed by those off it, as it was confirmed that Chelsea Football Club is in the final days of the Roman empire through a statement from the owner sent out an hour before kick off. The Blues nonetheless still got over the line in spite of an indifferent performance, in a competition that is a clear objective this season.
The hosts stunned the World Champions by drawing first blood within the first two minutes, with Reece Burke guiding home an excellent header. A classy finish from loanee Saul Niguez in the 27th minute brought parity, before Harry Cornick sprung the offside trap in minute 40 to put The Hatters ahead.
Thomas Tuchel will have no doubt been furious with his side at the interval, having seen his men lacking the same intensity as that of their plucky opponents and the heroics of third choice goalkeeper Harry Isted deny the Blues on many an occasion.
Chelsea came out after the break with fresh impetus, but found themselves struggling to unlock a resolute Luton backline. That is until a picture perfect searching ball from Ruben Loftus-Cheek was taken down and prodded home coolly by Timo Werner in the 68th minute. A collector's item of a Romelu Lukaku goal ten minutes later then put the visitors ahead in the tie for the first time.
It wasn't pretty by any stretch, but it was a battling performance just three days removed from a monumental tussle that drained the Chelsea squad. Up next for Thomas Tuchel and his men is a trip to Turf Moof to play Sean Dyche's Burnley in the Premier League. In the meantime, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the Blues’ performance against Luton Town…
Kepa Arrizabalaga - 5/10
Fresh off the back of his well-documented disappointment in the Carabao Cup, this was another difficult evening for the Spaniard. Couldn't do an awful lot for the opener but was stranded in no man's land for the second, seeming in two minds about closing down the angle or standing his ground - albeit, he was left abandoned by his defenders.
Antonio Rüdiger - 7/10
The only frequent starter in the Chelsea defensive unit, and it showed. Physically impressive and the German's range of passing was excellent.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek - 8/10
Deserves full credit for stepping up to the plate in a position that is in no way within his natural remit. Was caught flat-footed on occasion, yet of the same accord was powerful and silky when driving out of defence with tasks he is more accustomed to. His assist for Chelsea's second was particularly pleasing.
Malang Sarr - 2/10
A howler of a performance. Shoddy marking to let Reece Burke have a free run to head home the opener and that set his stall for the evening, before a completely ridiculous decision to step up let Harry Cornick in to re-establish the lead. He was dominated in the air, never looking truly comfortable up against Luton's powerhouses.
Callum Hudson-Odoi - 4/10 
This was not good enough from the young Englishman and it hasn't been for quite some time. Just looks devoid of ideas, with an inability to take on his man. Still of a tender age, but he has been at the top level for years and he has not kicked on. His substitution was well merited.
Jorginho - 6/10 
Not the easiest day at the office for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year, who found himself drowning in a sea of orange when in possession before very long. Chelsea never really felt particularly in control of the tie at any one time, and that is his primary responsibility, although it was peculiar to see him withdrawn.
Saúl Ñíguez - 8/10
His equaliser was the perfect demonstration of the quality he has in his locker, but unfortunately has not been seen enough in his Chelsea career. For someone who has been much derided and scantly utilised in royal blue attire, he put in a real shift on the evening with a tireless work rate and flashes of neat excellence.
Kenedy - 6/10 
Making his first appearance after returning from a loan spell with Fluminese, the Brazilian certainly brought something different to the table - including one bizarre moment in the first period in which he was doing keepie uppie in a standing position. Brought some decent energy to the wing without necessarily possessing a potent threat.
Mason Mount - 6/10
Seemed intent to take the game by the scruff of the neck with those around him well off it. Got a lot of joy in pockets of space on the right flank, but those around him weren't on his wavelength. His influenced waned as the day wore on.
Timo Werner - 8/10
It took him enough sights of goal, but he finally got the reward for not letting his head drop with a tidy finish under pressure. It is testament to the man that he did not let his head drop, even when he didn't have it all his own way. A goal and two assists represents an excellent evening on paper, but football isn't played on paper.
Romelu Lukaku - 6/10
An irritatingly static reference point spearheading the Chelsea attacking unit, and yet he notched the winning goal thanks to the hard work of his peers. It's fair to say Roman Abramovich's most expensive asset has not proved value for money since his return to the West London outfit, but important contributions like his winning one today is the minimum that can be asked for - and expected of him.
Christian Pulisic - 6/10 
Plenty of effort, but the American was fairly anonymous after his introduction.
Harvey Vale - 6/10 
This was a decent enough showing from the young man, getting a good attempt off of his own.
Reece James - 6/10 
Still coming back to full fitness and no doubt Thomas Tuchel would have rather not called upon him, but needs must and he brought some steel to proceedings.