Chelsea moved back into the Champions League spots after taking a point from a lifeless stalemate against Brighton at Stamford Bridge.
Football had taken a back seat in the build-up as Chelsea reportedly intended to withdraw from the European Super League following its catastrophic reception by fans.
But despite such good news off the pitch the Blues failed to strut their stuff on it and struggled to break down a stubborn, disciplined and regimented Brighton side set up to hassle the Blues midfield.
Brighton’s Adam Webster almost put his side in danger with a few lopsided passes, but Chelsea failed to capitalise.
And up the other end the Seagulls’ only effort of the half was blocked, with Jorginho getting in the way of Yves Bissouma’s dangerous effort.
The second half offered little more by the way of chances as both sides were limited to long-distance efforts, with Bissouma sending efforts over the bar for Brighton.
Callum Hudson-Odoi, Timo Werner and Olivier Giroud came on from the bench as Thomas Tuchel went in hunt of all three points or at least an effort on goal, but it was Brighton who had the best chance when substitute Adam Lallana sent an effort just wide of the post after dispossessing Kurt Zouma.
And moments later the visitors almost took the lead again as Danny Welbeck slammed the post with a curling effort from outside the box. Minutes from time, the outstanding Ben White also saw red after picking up a second yellow as Hudson-Odoi led a late Chelsea counter.
The hosts may have lived dangerously but escaped with a point that sees them leapfrog West Ham into fourth place, while Brighton take a valuable point to move seven points clear of the relegation zone.