Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany believes Frank Lampard's dramatic equaliser against former club Chelsea could prove to be a pivotal moment in the title race.
Barclays Premier League trophies are rarely won and lost in September, and never after five games of the season, but Kompany has plenty of experience at the business end of the competition and knows the trophy can be settled by little moments.
Lampard's late volley against the side he represented for 13 distinguished years felt significant and not just because of the personal link between player and club.
In one touch the former England midfielder gave 10-man City a 1-1 draw and an unlikely share of the spoils, and keeping his club within five points of the leaders rather than an imposing seven.
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 1 player ratings
Manchester City 1 Chelsea 1 player ratings
1/24 Manchester City: Joe Hart 5
Didn’t have much to do, and couldn’t have prevented Andre Schurrle’s goal.
2/24 Pablo Zabaleta 5
Got forward again and again to support the City attacks, but put his side in trouble when he was sent off in the 65th minute for a second booking.
3/24 Vincent Kompany 6
Dealt well with the threat of Diego Costa in what was a typically accomplished performance.
4/24 Eliaquim Mangala 5
A solid debut from the Frenchman, who looked strong when called upon.
5/24 Aleksandar Kolarov 5
Didn’t offer a great deal going forward but solid defensively.
6/24 Yaya Toure 5
Still a long way from his best, and unable to dictate the pace of the match.
7/24 James Milner 7
Impressive stuff from the England midfielder, who played in three different positions throughout the match, and never stopped working. Provided excellent volleyed assist for Lampard’s goal.
8/24 David Silva 5
A few nice touches, but drifted in and out of the game. Picked up first-half booking.
9/24 Fernandinho 5
Booked in the early stages, which forced the midfielder to curb his naturally combative instincts. Less effective as a result.
10/24 Sergio Aguero 6
Almost scored in the second half with effort from inside the box, but mostly starved of chances.
11/24 Edin Dzeko 5
Worked hard, but didn’t pose much of a threat. Sacrificed for Bacary Sagna after the Zabaleta sending off.
12/24 Frank Lampard 9
Took his goal brilliantly with a trademark volleyed finish, and nearly scored with a couple of other decent efforts. A truly unforgettable 12-minute cameo against his former club.
13/24 Thibaut Courtois 6
Made decent save to deny Aguero in the second half, and looked calm and composed throughout.
14/24 Gary Cahill 6
Kept Dzeko quiet, and stood up well whenever Aguero tried to take him on.
15/24 Branislav Ivanovic 7
Galloped forward to support the attack that led to Schurrle’s goal, and didn’t put a foot wrong defensively.
16/24 Cesar Azpilicueta 6
Dealt well with Silva, and never looked like getting caught out down his side.
17/24 John Terry 6
Marshalled the defence effectively, and largely untroubled.
18/24 Cesc Fabregas 5
A quiet afternoon from the former Arsenal man, who did very little apart from a lovely through ball to Diego Costa late on.
19/24 Willian 5
Worked hard defensively but offered very little going forward. Taken off after an hour.
20/24 Eden Hazard 6
Created Schurrle’s goal with a sumptuous cross, but was peripheral for the most part.
21/24 Ramires 5
Did brilliantly to clear in his own box when Dzeko was about to pounce. Booked in the first half and substituted with an hour gone.
22/24 Nemanja Matic 7
Outmuscled Yaya Toure, which takes some doing, and afforded good protection to his back four. Booked in the first half.
23/24 Diego Costa 6
Gave as good as he got physically against Kompany and Mangala, and unlucky not to score when left-footed effort cannoned off the post.
24/24 Andre Schurrle 6
Scored just eight minutes after coming on, but lost Milner for Lampard’s goal.
"Ever since I have been at this club, seasons and big moments have been decided on small events like this one so I will never underestimate what it could mean to our season. It could be crucial," Kompany said.
"Frank brings quality. The goal he scored you would have seen from him for the last 15 years in the Premier League.
"He is clever and still extremely motivated.
"He brings experience. It is not a word you make up, it is something that helps and it is like his goal: keeping your head cool in a moment when you are under pressure and down to 10 men - how many players would have scored that goal?
"He has proven it himself in only a few minutes, which is good."
Lampard will not be around when the title race is settled, with a new life at New York City waiting for him in the new year, but Kompany believes both parties are getting a good deal from his short-term loan arrangement.
"I think it goes both ways. He needed what we can offer him and I think we needed what he can bring to us," said the Belgian.
"If you talk to him I reckon that's how he sees it as well and his goal was just the icing on the cake.
"Ultimately you play so many competitions you need all the guys to be there and he is another who will clearly make our team stronger."
The nature of the Major League Soccer schedule does offer the tantalising prospect of a future return for Lampard, though at 36 this would appear to be his farewell to English football.
Kompany does not know if the chance will come again but has no doubts Lampard is still up to the task.
"That is not for me to judge, I think he has his personal plans as well, but I can base things on what I see day in, day out on the training ground and he is one of the better players," the City skipper added.
"That is as simple as it is. The rest is not up to me."