A brilliant goal from Reece James was the highlight of a stuttering display from Chelsea, who were inferior to Brighton for much of a 3-1 victory at the Amex Stadium.
The hosts were let down by carelessness in both penalty boxes, though if they maintain this level of performance, they will win many more than they lose.
Brighton dominated the midfield in the opening period but then, on 23 minutes, an error from Steven Alzate precipitated a rash challenge from goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who felled Timo Werner in the box; Jorghinho despatched the resultant penalty with customary ease.
At the start of the second half, Brighton again dictated the play, and Leandro Trossard’s well-earned equaliser came at the end of a quick and clever move.
But just two minutes later, James delivered an even better strike, after which Chelsea largely controlled the game – though Lewis Dunk missed an extremely presentable chance to equalise – and added a third when Adam Webster deflected Kurt Zouma’s shot into his own net.
'Timo Werner is going to be a real threat' - Frank Lampard
What are Chelsea aiming for? It is not hard to be impressed by Chelsea’s summer acquisitions: Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz are excellent players; Havertz might just go on to become one of the best around.
As such, it is easy to understand why Chelsea signed him this summer, though they had needs in other areas – his ceiling is higher than theirs, but it just so happened that when he was ready to leave Leverkusen, the only clubs with money to buy him were those owned either by states or by oligarchs.
So, if Chelsea decided to act because they had to and are not seeking to challenge for the big pots until next season, their business is easy to understand. But if Frank Lampard looked at his squad and decided it needed high-level attackers more than it needed high-level defenders, and believes that the team he now has is ready to compete with the best, it would be impossible not to question his judgment.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Reese James (Chelsea): Scored a wonderful goal - the goal that effectively settled the game - and got up and down his flank.
Brighton: Ryan 5, White 6, Dunk 5, Webster 5, Lamptey 7, Alzate 6, Bissouma 7, March 6, Lallana 6, Maupay 5, Trossard 7. Subs: Connolly 6, Gross 6, Jahanbaksh 6.
Chelsea: Kepa 5, James 8, Christensen 6, Zouma 6, Alonso 6, Kante 6, Jorginho 6, Mount 6, Havertz 5, Loftus-Cheek 5, Werner 6. Subs: Barkley 6, Azpilicueta 6, Hudson-Odoi 6.
21’ - PENALTY TO CHELSEA! Alzate plays a blind square pass and Mount is onto it, immediately finding Werner, who nips around Ryan, who brings him down. He does well to avoid a red card, but it's the right call because it wasn't a gratuitous foul.
23’ - GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Chelsea (Jorginho pen) The hop, the skip and Ryan goes to his left, so Jorginho goes to his right. Brighton will be sick and rightly so, because they've gifted a goal that wasn't being threatened.
54’ - WHAT A GOAL! Brighton 1-1 Chelsea (Trossard) Brighton probe, moving the ball from right to left then back across again - this is excellent stuff, I was in the middle of writing, then Lamptey laid back to Trossard, 22 yards out, and he pasted a fine low shot into the far corner. Kepa might've done better, but the shot was extremely early and extremely accurate. Brighton earned that.
56’ - WHAT A GOAL! Brighton 1-2 Chelsea (James) That's why Chelsea sold Tariq Lamptey! James moves across the pitch from centre to right, 25 yards out, and without much on, he decides to shoot ... wiping his foot across an absolute beauty that careers high into the net at the near post, swerving away from Ryan all the way. Oh yes!
59’ - WHAT A MISS! Alzate caresses a love ball into the box, and Dunk is free at the far post! Anything on target and he's scored, but perhaps trying to be too precise, he flicks his header wide! Dearie me.
66’ - GOAL! Brighton 1-3 Chelsea (Zouma) James swings the corner out and Zouma does well to check out, diverting the ball goalwards. But Ryan has his shot covered, until Webster extends a foot, deflecting the ball home. That'll be that.
- Since joining Chelsea in 2018, Kepa Arrizabalaga has conceded more Premier League goals from outside the box - 19 - than any other goalkeeper.