Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti hailed a "fantastic" Nicolas Anelka performance as the Frenchman showed he does not intend to be the one to make way for Fernando Torres in a 4-2 win at Sunderland
Anelka was on target as the champions came from a goal down to win at the Stadium of Light, the striker shining in a deeper role behind Didier Drogba.
The £50million man Torres, like Brazilian defender David Luiz, did not complete his move to Stamford Bridge in time to be available for the game, but he was not missed as the Blues created more than enough chances to win without him.
In the end, Anelka's nonchalant injury-time finish and skipper John Terry's strike on the hour were the difference between the sides, but the visitors hit the woodwork three times, twice with the same Salomon Kalou shot, and were worthy winers.
But it was Anelka, whose place could be under threat from Torres' arrival, who stole the show prompting Ancelotti to enthuse: "Nicolas Anelka played very well. He used his ability in behind Didier Drogba. His performance was fantastic tonight."
The Italian was understandably pleased with the attacking intent shown by his side and is licking his lips at the prospect of fielding Torres against his former club Liverpool on Sunday - a game you can see live on Sky Sports HD1 and 1 and in Sky 3D from 3.30pm on Sunday.
"I am very happy because we have a fantastic player to put up front. I think the club made a great effort to get these new players. Now we are more competitive and it's fantastic."
Chelsea did not have things all their own way as Sunderland played their part in a pulsating encounter before succumbing in the second half.
"It was a good game," said Ancelotti. "It was a difficult start but after that we played very well and created a lot of chances. It was a very good performance for us.
"We could have scored more to close the game out but Kalou hit both posts but we controlled it until the end."