Roberto Di Matteo today challenged Chelsea to prove they could “move on” from the Didier Drogba era in tomorrow's clash at Arsenal.
The European champions travel to the Emirates Stadium for the first big test of their Barclays Premier League title credentials this season.
And they will do so for the first time since Drogba quit the club this summer after eight years in which he terrorised their north London neighbours.
The striker scored 13 goals in 14 games against Arsenal, prompting Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to declare yesterday: "I don't know if Chelsea miss him, but we don't miss him."
Drogba became the ringleader as Chelsea repeatedly bullied Wenger's men following the Ivory Coast star's arrival at Stamford Bridge.
His departure has heralded a transformation in the way Chelsea play - indeed, they bear more resemblance to Arsenal now than they do to the team Drogba inspired to Champions League glory last season.
Manager Di Matteo said: "Didier Drogba has been a fantastic player for this club for many years, but we have to move on from that.
"That's the past. We're looking to the future now."
Di Matteo denied Chelsea would adopt a radically different approach tomorrow to that in the past, adding: "It's always a football game. You try to beat them by playing football."
Technically, Di Matteo is correct, but there is more than one way to do that, some see teams praised and some condemned.
"I loved my side last season as well," Di Matteo said.
"I think everybody likes different aspects of football.
"We were very successful last season and played some good football. You always focus on a couple of games, but we played some good stuff."