Chelsea 2-3 Burnley: Nine-man Premier League champions humbled in opening game by brilliant Clarets

Chelsea's Premier League title defence couldn't have got off to a worse start, as they were humbled in their opening clash of the 2017/18 season, as goals from Sam Vokes and Stephen Ward saw them defeated 3-2 by Burnley at Stamford Bridge.

It was clear from early on that it wasn't going to be their afternoon after Gary Cahill was sent off after 14 minutes, it only got worse from there as goals from Vokes and Ward saw them three behind before the break. 

There was a glimmer of hope as Álvaro Morata got one back on his competitive debut for The Blues, but one step forward was met with two steps back as Cesc Fàbregas' dismissal saw them down to nine. David Luiz really pushed the clash to the end with his 88th minute goal, but it wasn't enough to stop Sean Dyche's side recording a historic victory in the capital. 

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Blues off to the worst possible start 

Antonio Conte's men made as triumphant return to the Bridge, looking to kickstart another title charge against a side who only won once away from last season.

There had been a change of guard over the summer with John Terry's departure with Cahill taking the armband, but his league debut as permanent captain lasted all of 14 minutes. 

It was the skipper that was looking to lead a Chelsea attack as he bombed up-field, however the defender overran with the ball which saw him dive in and look to go studs up on Steven Defour. Referee Craig Pawson was forced into a big decision very early on and had no hesitation as he gave Cahill his marching orders. 

That certainly gave the visitors some confidence as the space opened up, they tested the waters as they had a goal disallowed for a foul but it wasn't long before they managed to take the lead. 

It wasn't stellar football but Burnely certainly abused the new found space as the ball was spread out right to Matt Lowton, he had all the time in the world to whip the ball in which found Vokes. It was good from last season's top scorer for the Clarets, as he flicked the ball on looking away from goal, which trickled beyond the diving Thibaut Courtois and into the bottom corner. 

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Knocking the champions off their perch 

Few would have expected Burnley to take a lead away to the champions especially considering their record away from home, but defied all the odds as they managed to find themselves three ahead before the break. 

The second came six minutes before half-time and it was tucked away in some style, it was all Ward as he brilliantly took down Jack Cork's lofted ball on the left-hand side of the box despite pressure from N'Golo Kanté. The angle was certainly was against him, but he did brilliantly to hit his half-volley into the far corner to send the Chelsea contingent into further shock. 

Burnley's ecstasy was only heightened further as they added a third four minutes later, and Chelsea had nobody to blame but themselves. It was simple one-two from the free-kick out on the right which saw Defour whip it into the mixer, Vokes did well to get in between  Luiz and Marcos Alonso to fire his header home. 

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Morata makes goalscoring appearance 

Anybody would have loved to be a fly on the wall in the Chelsea dressing room at half-time, but whatever Conte said to his players seemed to work as they came out for the second period looking for a way back into the contest. 

Alonso had a go in the 51st minute as effort was tipped over by Tom Heaton before been denied again in the 63rd minute, but the introduction of Morata on the hour mark proved the key to Chelsea getting one back. 

It was beautiful from Willian as he whipped a scrumptious ball in from the right, the Spanish striker did brilliantly to beat his man and it was easy enough for the striker to glance the header home from six yards to make a nearly immediate impact. 

Morata had the ball in the net again minutes later as was on the end of substitute Andreas Christensen's cross, he was rightly flagged offside.

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Luiz makes things interesting

However, all that reclaimed hope and optimism was dashed with nine minutes to play, as Chelsea were reduced to nine men.

Fàbregas was booked early in the first period and went flying in on Cork as he looked to play the ball forward. The Spaniard got some of the ball but there was no doubt that Cork was first to it and Pawson was quick to give him his marching orders despite the protests. 

Despite falling to nine Chelsea continued to push forward as they looked to salvage anything from what would be a humbling opening-day defeat, and they made sure the last minutes were interesting as they managed to salvage another goal. 

Stand-in skipper César Azpilicueta lumped the ball forward which was flicked on by Morata, Luiz made the long run forward and wasn't picked up as the Brazilian managed to get onto Morata's flick to slot past Heaton. 

Tension began to increase amongst the visitors as the game entered extra-time, but The Claret and Blues could have easily wrapped it up there and then with a fourth. Robbie Brady lined up a free-kick and it looked like it was going to be a perfect end to a great result in the capital, but his set-piece came back off the foot of the post.