Alvaro Morata got a goal and provided an assist on his Premier League debut but it was just not enough as 9-man Chelsea started their title defence on a disappointing note; losing 2-3 to Burnley on Saturday at Stamford Bridge.
Gary Cahill was sent off 13 minutes into his first game as Chelsea’s permanent captain and that proved costly as the visitors made the most of their numerical advantage.
Sam Vokes’ double and Stephen Ward’s superb strike put the visitors into a commanding lead in a disastrous opening half for the Premier League champions.
Though Chelsea mustered a better display in the second half with Morata and David Luiz scoring, it was not enough to deny the Clarets a famous win in
the opening day of action in the Premier League.
With Pedro, Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko injured, Victor Moses suspended and Morata not fit enough to start, Chelsea handed debuts to Antonio Rudiger and 20-year-old winger Jeremie Boga.
Boga was sacrificed for Andreas Christensen after Cahill’s dismissal, which will see the skipper miss next week’s visit to Wembley to face Tottenham, as well as games with Everton and Leicester.
Burnley did not take long to make their numerical advantage count as full-back Matt Lowton’s cross from the right was hooked goalwards by Vokes, the ball taking a slight touch off David Luiz before beating the scrambling Thibaut Courtois.
Burnley doubled their lead six minutes before the break, Ward arrowing a shot into the far corner, and Stamford Bridge was stunned again when Defour picked out the unmarked Vokes to head in.Second half
Marcos Alonso was the driving force behind Chelsea’s early dominance of the second half, as he was twice denied by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, including a superb save from a free-kick.
Morata was introduced on 58 minutes and he capped his first appearance with a goal as he snuck in behind the Burnley defence to nod in Willian’s cross.
Chelsea piled on the pressure but went down to nine men after Fabregas – who had been booked in the first half for sarcastically applauding the referee – was shown a second yellow for a foul on Jack Cork.
Despite this, the Blues threw themselves a lifeline when Morata found Luiz, and he fired past Heaton.
Robbie Brady hit the post for Burnley from a free-kick and the visitors somehow held out despite a late onslaught in injury time.Chelsea:
Courtois; Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi (Morata 58), Boga (Christensen 16 (Musonda 90)).
Subs not used: Caballero, Tomori, Scott, Kenedy.