Nine-man Chelsea stunned by Burnley as Premier League title defence starts badly
Sean Dyche’s side hold off late fightback from the champions to secure a famous win.
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 said
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.
?Who's up next?
Tottenham v Chelsea (Premier League, August 20)
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion (Premier League, August 19)
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