Chelsea, featuring just two of their slew of high-profile and expensive signings, got off to a winning start in the English Premier League by beating Brighton 3-1 on Monday.
Timo Werner and Kai Havertz - signed for a combined $A220 million - couldn't beat Brighton's Australian goalkeeper Mat Ryan at Amex Stadium, with goals from Jorginho, Reece James and Kurt Zouma instead.
James was the most spectacular and the most crucial, the right back's swerving piledriver from 30 metres regaining the lead for Chelsea at 2-1 in the 56th minute, just two minutes after Brighton equalised through Leandro Trossard.
Zouma's deflected volley from a corner in the 66th then gave Chelsea some breathing space.
While Havertz was fairly ineffective in his position on the right of midfield, fellow Germany international Werner - the lone striker - was more impressive and earned the penalty that was converted by Jorginho to break the deadlock in the 21st minute.
Brighton midfielder Steven Alzate lost possession in central midfield as the hosts tried to play the ball out from the back, Werner was played through and was brought down by Ryan. Jorginho sent Ryan the wrong way.
Much-criticised goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was handed a start by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard but his failure to keep out Trossard's 54th-minute shot from outside the area will likely keep the scrutiny on him. Kepa seemed slow to get down as the ball squirmed beyond his outstretched right hand.
James quickly put Chelsea back in front with a stunning strike that flew into the roof of the net, and the right back sent in the corner that Zouma met with a volley that ricocheted in off Brighton defender Adam Webster's right foot.
Of Chelsea's other offseason signings that combined to cost $A343 million, left back Ben Chilwell and playmaker Hakim Ziyech were injured and centre back Thiago Silva wasn't ready after only recently joining up with the squad.
"Today is a good feeling for us, because it wasn't a great performance," Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said. "I'm not going to sit here and say that, but we got the three points.
"If we can get those points early, confidence builds, we'll have more time to work with the team, players come back from injury and the new signings settle in, hopefully we can make big strides."
Earlier Wolves showed no sign of fatigue after their short off-season, scoring twice in the first six minutes to set up a 2-0 win at Sheffield United.
Raul Jimenez, who scored 17 times in the league last season, sidefooted home a powerful shot from Daniel Podence's cross to put Wolves ahead in the third minute.
Romain Saiss doubled the lead three minutes later, meeting a left-wing corner from Pedro Neto with a firm header beyond goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Wolves' 2019-20 campaign lasted more than a year because it started early in Europa League qualifying and finished in the same pandemic-extended competition with a loss to Sevilla in the quarter-finals on August 11.
Back in action in little over a month, Nuno Espirito Santo's team looked lively and could easily have won by more.
Australian Associated Press