The Blues are in unfamiliar territory in 16th place, level with their next opponents, West Brom.

Last weekend’s 3-0 defeat at the Etihad was always on the cards after the Sky Blues began this season the way Chelsea started the last. It could have been worse had Asmir Begovic not produced a string of lightning saves.

When points are dropped, scapegoats are required.

Last week Jose Mourinho engineered an absurd run-in with his front-bench medics as he cast around for someone to blame.

This time, the defence copped it.

There were indeed lapses, although the fact that Chelsea only troubled Joe Hart twice suggests failures up front too.

Chelsea have made few changes to last year’s title-winning team. On the one hand that means everyone knows each other’s game very well. On the other hand, so do opponents.

There is a worrying transparency about the Blues; whatever they conjure up can be anticipated.

City’s attacks, laced with guile and variety, always threatened danger. Chelsea’s always promised to fizzle out.

John Terry was subbed at half time in Manchester to make way for the pacy Kurt Zouma, though Gary Cahill, his nostril plugged to stop bleeding, was a more obvious candidate.

It prompted the first recorded “Sacked in the morning” chant, jokingly directed at a medic who had the temerity to run on to the pitch.

Jose plans changes at the Hawthorns, to make clear who he blames for Chelsea’s stuttering start.

Baba Rahman, a £14m left back from Augsburg, comes in, with Cesar Azpilicueta likely to switch to the right. Zouma could remain in central defence, denying starts to Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.

Chelsea aren’t doing much wrong. They are still playing clever little triangles, and generally boss the midfield.

But when opponents can simply watch old recordings to know what you are likely to do, sticking to last season’s tactics is a bit futile.