Stuck in for the fag end of last season after the sacking of Andres Villas-Boas, Di Matteo confounded the critics and ended up with the FA Cup and Champions League, therefore making it all but impossible for Abramovich to ditch him to and bring in anyone else (outgoing Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola being the bookies favourite).
Guardiola insisted on having a year out anyway, and the ever pragmatic Abramovich responded by rewarding the almost unsackable Di Matteo with a 24 month contract, hardly a ringing endorsement (AVB and Ancelotti each got 3-years - and neither delivered the Champions League).
A man less sure of his managerial ability would have told Abramovich to stuff it, but Di Matteo simply set about his job - and three games into the new Premier League season Chelsea are sitting in top slot, with a 100% record, after victories against Wigan, Reading and a very decent Newcastle United side.
And it's the manner of the victories that have been so impressive. Hazard is a revelation, and Torres looks like he has finally found his form. And it's down to Di Matteo. He has got the team working for each other, and clearly enjoying their football. His man-management skills are clearly still making a difference.
No mistake about it, this current Chelsea side is good enough to win the Premier League (and plenty more besides). And if Abramovich's masterplan involves getting rid of Di Matteo at the end of a trophyless season, he could well be frustrated once again. Never mind, Roman - you can take comfort from the trophy cabinet.
image: © aromano