Review : 5 talking points From Chelsea 2-3: Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off in opening weekend shocker
Chelsea 2-3 Burnley: Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off in opening weekend shocker
Chelsea made the worst possible start to their Premier League title defence as they were humiliated by Burnley on the opening weekend.
Gary Cahill’s early red card left Chelsea in turmoil as they leaked three goals in the first 45 minutes against a Burnley side that has largely been tipped for relegation.
Sam Vokes scored twice, with the goals sandwiched between Stephen Ward’s piledriver from the edge of the box.
Alvaro Morata came off the bench to give Chelsea hope in the second half but it ultimately proved to be in vein as Cesc Fabregas picked up a late red card for a second booking.
David Luiz’s late goal ensured the scoreline was not as flattering as it could – and maybe should – have been.
Here are five talking points from the game…
1. Conte makes point to the hierarchy
There certainly isn’t much strength in depth in the Chelsea squad and Antonio Conte made that point clear for all to see with his team selection.
Incredibly, Kenedy was the most senior Chelsea substitute, having made just 15 Premier League appearances for the Blues.
The Chelsea fans appeared to have solidarity with their manager, chanting his name within one minute of the game getting underway.
2. Ruthless Burnley prove everyone wrong
After losing Michael Keane and Andre Gray – arguably their best two players last season – Burnley had looked to have the odds stacked against them.
But there seems to be no issues with confidence as they came out and took the game to Chelsea right from the off.
Quick breaks and determined from set pieces, Burnley were nothing short of brilliant as they stunned champions, becoming the first team ever to go three goals up at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League.
Maybe the way to defeat this Chelsea team is just to attack?
3. Reckless Cahill costs Boga his big day
It wasn’t quite the ideal start to captaincy for new Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill, who was shown red after just 14 minutes of the game.
A reckless lunge on Steven Defour correctly earned Cahill his marching orders for the first time in his Chelsea career.
It almost felt like it was coming for Cahill, who forced Per Mertesacker off injured during the Community Shield last weekend after a series of physical performances in pre-season.
The dismissal was equally as costly for young Jeremie Boga, who was hauled off as Chelsea looked to reshape.
Boga was making his Chelsea debut after impressing during pre-season, thus bringing an end to his big day.
And minutes later, Burnley took the lead.
4. Morata gets debut and gave Chelsea hope
With an hour to play and three goals down, Alvaro Morata was brought on for his Premier League debut.
The Spanish international’s introduction was in place of his direct strike rival, Michy Batshuayi, leaving Chelsea with just one out-and-out striker on the pitch.
It appeared a surprising lack of ambition from Antonio Conte, who appeared to go for damage limitation as oppose to trying to get his side back in the game.
But Morata’s enthusiasm proved to have the big impact on the Chelsea team that Conte had hoped.
He got himself a Premier League debut goal and gave his side hope – even if the game was just out of reach.
5. Burnley have ready-made Keane replacement
Burnley lost one of their most important players from last season during the summer, with Michael Keane departing to Everton.
But they might not be as lost at the back as first expected, with James Tarkowski stepping into Keane’s shoes alongside Ben Mee at the heart of the defence.
Tarkowski, who spent the majority of last season on the bench, proved to be the perfect fit, expertly keeping Michy Batshuayi quiet throughout.
Burnley’s stern defence proved to be crucial in keeping them in the Premier League last season – and they picked up exactly where they left off.