Chelsea start Premier League title defence on losing note

Ivan Schwartz
August 12, 2017

But there was no sign on the pitch of Morata's burden when he came on just before the hour mark.

Burnley however changed their tactics after Cahill was sent off and it paid off in the 24th minutes when Sam Vokes netted the first goal after a wonderful cross from Mathew Lowton.

The England worldwide had overrun the ball slightly and, with Steven Defour about to seize possession, the 31-year-old lunged in.

The Blues captain was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Burnley midfielder Steven Defour in their opener at Stamford Bridge after he had lost possession with a heavy touch. The composure of the Chelsea players disappeared for the remainder of a half that will not be quickly forgotten.

That was due in part to the belief that Burnley now possess, having retained their Premier League status last season.

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Stephen Ward then made it 2-0 in spectacular manner, firing a volley past Chelsea keeper, Thibaut Courtois, from a tight angle after 39 minutes. Ignoring the obvious opportunity to launch a cross into the Chelsea area, the visitors played a free-kick short. While that was speculative, Burnley were being clinical. By the time Vokes powered in a header from Defour's delivery on the stroke of the interval, many Chelsea fans had left their seats in search of strong half-time refreshments.

In the 3pm kick-offs, champions Chelsea were predicted to start their campaign with an easy win over Burnley at Stamford Bridge, only for Antonio Conte's men to find themselves 3-0 down at half time.

Fabregas and Cahill will be suspended for Chelsea's tough second match of the season, away to Tottenham at Wembley Stadium next weekend.

Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi scored a first-half header on his Premier League debut to give West Bromwich Albion a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Bournemouth at the Hawthorns on the opening day of their season.

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