Chelsea made a dismal start to their Premier League title defence as they fell to a 3-2 defeat by Burnley that featured red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas.
Cahill was sent off by referee Craig Pawson after only 14 minutes when he ended Steven Defour’s run with a high tackle that was clumsy rather malicious.
Even when a man down Antonio Conte could not have predicted the capitulation that followed as Burnley stormed 3-0 ahead through two goals from Sam Vokes and a terrific strike by Stephen Ward.
Assisted by a woeful home defence, the underdogs were out of sight by half-time and although Chelsea dominated the second-half with £58million striker Alvaro Morata on target, they had left themselves too much ground to claw back.
Fabregas was given his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards but, despite being reduced to nine men, the champions added a second through David Luiz that at least highlighted a level of desire that was missing before the break.
What they saidChelsea manager Antonio Conte: “The red card was a key moment. After that we lost our composure and conceded three goals. We have to improve a lot on this aspect because there was the rest of the game to try to do our best. We must have the right experience to face this situation.”Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “Overall we deserved it. They’re a top class side with some fantastic individuals. Losing 3-0 is not usual for them so they had to respond so credit to them for that. We were disappointed in the two goals conceded because before that we’d kept a really good shape and they didn’t have too many chances.”
Tweet of the match
Man of the match
Take a bow Sam Vokes, the Burnley striker who opened the visitors’ account and fired his second for a goal that ultimately proved to be the winner. Visiting fans celebrated wildly at seeing their underdogs power 3-0 ahead and it was Vokes who spearheaded the upset.
Villain of the match
Gary Cahill is the obvious candidate on the grounds of his early red card, but it was the shortcomings of Chelsea’s entire defence that resulted in one of the greatest opening day upsets in Premier League history. Burnley were outstanding but on each occasion they were given a helping hand by a leaky Blues rearguard who played as though they were strangers.
View from the bench
Dapper Italian Antonio Conte usually cuts a suave figure in the technical area but he was clad in a full Chelsea tracksuit for his side’s opening day defeat. He made clear his disgust at the dismissal of Cahill, but the Blues boss was every exasperated with the performance of his players, although he can at least take heart from the fightback that fell short.
RatingsChelsea: Thibaut Courtois 5, Antonio Rudiger 4, David Luiz 4, Gary Cahill 3, Cesar Azpilicueta 5, N’Golo Kante 5, Cesc Fabregas 5, Marcos Alonso 5, Willian 5, Michy Batshuayi 5, Jeremie Boga 6. Substitutes: Andreas Christensen (Boga, 18 and Musonda 92) 5, Alvaro Morata (Batshuayi 59) 7.Burnley: Tom Heaton 6, Matthew Lowton 7, Jack Cork 7, James Tarkowski 7, Ben Mee 6, Sam Vokes 9, Robbie Brady 7, Jeff Hendrick 7, Steven Defour 7, Johann Berg Gudmundsson 6, Stephen Ward 7. Substitutes: Jonathan Walters 6, (Defour 75) Scott Arfield (Gudmundsson 75) 6
Tottenham v Chelsea (Premier League, August 20)
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion (Premier League, August 19)