As the late summer turned to autumn even the most ardent Wayne Rooney fans had started to stubbornly accept that this current rut in form could be terminal.
The Manchester United talisman has started many a season slowly before exploding into life. But he wasn’t showing any real signs of sharpening up until this week.
He seemed completely off the pace at times and slower than most other outfield players in mind and body.
But against CSKA there was a moment when Rooney turned on a sixpence and hit a beautiful diagonal into the path of Jesse Lingard, who didn’t even have to break stride to take the ball.
This was Wayne Rooney in his best position at number ten looking much sharper and more aware than we have seen so far this season.
Even his biggest fans amongst us would have to concede that he has long since lost the electric pace which so troubled defences in his earlier Manchester United career.
But Rooney can still be one of the most important players in The Premier League.
The goal was well taken and his overall performance level may suggest that this recent lull is another temporary problem for a player who, at 30, should have at least two more years in the tank at the top level – particularly in a deeper role where he can pull the strings for Manchester United.