Chelsea made a dramatic start to their Premier League title defence after falling to a 3-2 defeat by Burnley at Stamford Bridge that featured red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas.
Cahill was sent off by referee Craig Pawson after only 14 minutes for lunging at Steven Defour with a high tackle and Burnley’s response was to storm 3-0 ahead through two goals from Sam Vokes and a terrific strike by Stephen Ward.
Goals from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz sandwiched a second red card, this time for Cesc Fabregas who had been booked twice, in a second half dominated by the champions.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
“Thanks for a great second half and I hope this spirit will drive on” – Former Chelsea defender Mario Melchiot (@mariomelchiot) is determined to find positives in the result.
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
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.
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
Michy Batshuayi: 5
Jeremie Boga : 6
Andreas Christensen (Boga, 18 and Musonda 92): 5
Alvaro Morata (Batshuayi 59): 7
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
Jonathan Walters (Defour 75): 6
Scott Arfield (Gudmundsson 75): 6
WHO’S UP NEXT?
Tottenham v Chelsea (Premier League, August 20 )
Burnley v West Bromwich Albion (Premier League, August 19 )