From Selhurst Park - Hakim Ziyech's last-minute volley snatched three points for Chelsea in a turgid clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Croydon is a far cry from Abu Dhabi, and the newly-crowned world champions seemed to be suffering from something of a culture shock after their exploits at the Club World Cup, struggling to break their modest hosts down in an evenly matched first half at a wet and wild Selhurst Park.
Palace came close to opening the scoring seven minutes in, but the lively Michael Olise could only scuff a shot wide of the post. Christian Pulisic then spurned a gilt-edged chance for Chelsea when Hakim Ziyech's cross flashed onto his feet in the six-yard box, but he got himself in a tangle and skied his effort.
Centre-back Antonio Rudiger forced an excellent save from Vicente Guaita when he took aim from all of 40 yards out and sent a deviating bullet of a strike towards the top corner, with the Spaniard reacting to palm it away.
Chelsea's clearest opening of the half perhaps fell to the wrong man. Malang Sarr slipped N'Golo Kante in on goal with 20 minutes gone, but he could only fire straight at the goalkeeper.
The hosts' best chance came in first-half stoppage time after Christian Pulisic was dispossessed and perhaps fouled in midfield. Olise broke and played Wilfried Zaha in with a cute through ball, but the Ivorian could only plant his finish wide from the angle.
Chelsea didn't improve after the break, and a damp squib of a match appeared to be trundling towards a 0-0 draw without incident.
The Blues did finally have the ball in the back of the net with 15 to go when Ziyech tapped home after a Romelu Lukaku strike was parried by substitute keeper Jack Butland, but a VAR review caught the Belgian offside in the build-up.
It seemed destined to be a frustrating afternoon for Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, but in the last minute, Marcos Alonso's deep cross travelled all the way to the back post where Ziyech was on hand to expertly volley in the winner.
Zaha had the opportunity to level in stoppage time, but he could only drag a left-footed strike across the box and wide.
Here's how the players rated in a poor game in south London...
Crystal Palace player ratings
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Vicente Guaita (GK) - 7/10 - Brilliant save to deny Rudiger from a mile out. Stood tall in a one-v-one with Kante. Forced off at half-time with an injury, but his clean sheet was intact.
Nathaniel Clyne (RB) - 5/10 - Good battle with Kai Havertz, but wasn't able to get forward to provide extra width.
Joachim Andersen (CB) - 7/10 - Did well against Lukaku and kept a cool head at set pieces.
Marc Guehi (CB) - 6/10 - Solid if unspectacular. Won plenty of duels.
Tyrick Mitchell (LB) - 6/10 - Had an excellent game defensively and supported the attack. Bad moment when he jumped under Alonso's late cross for the goal.
James McArthur (CM) - 7/10 - Kept his passing concise and never gave his opposite numbers a moment's peace.
Cheikhou Kouyate (CM) - 6/10 - No frills but disrupted Chelsea alongside McArthur.
Jeff Schlupp (CM) - 6/10 - It was his job to scrap and that is exactly what he did, engaging in plenty of duels on the ground and in the air.
Michael Olise (RW) - 7/10 - Looked in a confident mood early on, going close with a bobbling low strike. His set-piece deliveries posed a threat, too. Palace's main creative outlet throughout. Booked.
Jordan Ayew (ST) - 6/10 - A typically hardworking display, although he could have done better in a couple of attacking positions. Subbed.
Wilfried Zaha (LW) - 5/10 - Busy but lost control a few times, ceding possession. Spurned a glorious chance to open the scoring, side-footing wide from the angle.
Jack Butland (GK) - 5/10 - Beaten by Ziyech's late finish after having nothing to do.
Eberechi Eze (RW) - N/A
Chelsea player ratings
5. Goalkeeper & defenders
Edouard Mendy (GK) - 6/10 - Didn't have much to do but was fine with his feet. Clean sheet.
Andreas Christensen (RB) - 6/10 - Didn't look completely comfortable shunted out wide, but defended well against Zaha.
Thiago Silva (CB) - 7/10 - Some very cool early interventions. Very good clearing header from a dangerous set piece. Still somehow at the top of his game.
Antonio Rudiger (CB) - 6/10 - Wasn't shy to shoot early on and almost scored an absolute screamer. Made some lovely passes from deep to break the lines. Became a bit too concerned with winding up his opponents.
Malang Sarr (LB) - 6/10 - Slipped Kante in with a midfielder's through ball. Unexpectedly effective going forward. A bit unnecessarily physical at times and that resulted in a yellow. Subbed.
Hakim Ziyech (RM) - 8/10 - Dazzling wing play and deliveries in the first period. Volleyed in the crucial winner with wonderful technique.
Jorginho (CM) - 6/10 - Not at his metronomic, defensive best. Sometimes gave the ball away and lost most of his duels.
N'Golo Kante (CM) - 5/10 - Should have scored when clean through on goal, but couldn't find the finish. Busy but a little loose. Subbed.
Christian Pulisic (AM) - 6/10 - Struggled to impose himself centrally, losing the ball and being outmuscled on a few occasions. Some good ball carries as he tried to haul his side forward.
Kai Havertz (LM) - 5/10 - Always a willing runner, but not able to affect things from a wide area. Booked.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) - 3/10 - Made some good runs but managed just two touches in the first half. Didn't get much better after the break.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (CM) - 5/10
Mateo Kovacic (CM) - 5/10
Marcos Alonso (LM) - 7/10 - Whipped deep delivery picked out Ziyech for the winner.