Chelsea 2 Burnley 3: Clarets stun Premier League champions

CHELSEA had two players sent off after reckless tackles. They lost at home to the relegation favourites. And yet still the crowd went home cheering their team and believing injustice rather than self-inflicted injury was responsible for a dreadful result on opening day for the reigning champions.

Posted Sunday, August 13, 2017 by

Chelsea 2 Burnley 3: Clarets stun Premier League champions
Sam Vokes celebrates

Sure, a memorable second half fight-back, even when they were down to nine men for the final minutes, was a stirring spectacle in the Stamford Bridge sunshine.

And, sure, there was rare promise to behold in the dynamic performance of £60million striker Alvaro Morata when he came on as a substitute.

But, let’s get real, too. Chelsea were a team of chaos for much of this game, matching the mood off the field where manager Antonio Conte has spent so much time complaining about transfers and the relative weakness of his squad.

The red card for captain Gary Cahill in the 14th minute was the moment that shaped the match. The one for Cesc Fabregas after 81 minutes was almost incidental.

In truth, Chelsea had already looked nervous before Cahill lunged studs first into the shins of Burnley midfielder Steven Defour.

Referee Craig Dawson was perfectly positioned and acted as any official should. There seemed no malice in the clumsy folly of Cahill, but when football correctly wants to eradicate reckless violent tackles, then red cards like this are essential.

Chelsea collapsed into a hapless defensive mess, losing all composure, and Burnley took swift and commanding advantage of the situation, scoring almost at will.

By half-time they were 3-0 ahead.

Welsh international striker Sam Vokes steered home the first after 24 minutes from a low cross --- a goal made simple by slipshod marking.

Stephen Ward rammed home the second with a fierce shot from the left hand edge of the box after an exchange of passes with Jack Cork.

Moments later Defour crossed from the right and Vokes, again untroubled by markers, easily headed into goal from close range.

Chelsea raged at the ref, but they should have been looking in the mirror.

They improved after the break, running on adrenaline and emotion, and so nearly recovered the deficit as the temperature rose on the field and the touchline where the animated managers exchanged hard-edged views.

Burnley keeper Tom Heaton made two flying saves to keep out drives from Marcos Alonso, but it was the arrival of Morata on the hour for the ineffective Michy Batshuayi that delivered goals.

The £60m striker headed in a cross from Willian, but mucked up another opportunity for Chelsea when he touched home a goal-bound shot from Andreas Christensen when in an offside position.

Had Morata stayed away the goal would have stood.

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