Chelsea 2 Burnley 3
Chelsea slipped to defeat, at home to Burnley in a thrilling game laced with incident.
With a squad lacking through injury Hazard, Bakayoko and Pedro and with Moses suspended and with Diego Costa not part of Conte`s plans anymore, the lack of depth was alarmingly obvious when the names on the substitutes bench were announced. As for our new record signing, Morata was only awarded a place on the bench.
Chelsea started the half well, a good ball from Fabregas almost found Batshuayi but Heaton, in the Burnley goal, rushed out to claim the ball. Minutes later another ball from Fabregas found Azpilicueta but the Spaniard`s ball-in wasn`t up to scratch.
In the thirteenth minute Chelsea created their first real chance of the game when Batshuayi fed Azpilicueta and when his low cross came in it almost found Willian but some good defending from Tarkowski saw Burnley clear their lines.
A minute later Chelsea were down to ten-men when Cahill overrun a ball and his studs up challenge on Defour saw the referee, Craig Pawson, show a straight red card.
Fabregas was the next to feel the wrath of the referee, receiving a yellow card for some sarcastic applause, it`s fair to say Pawson wasn`t making himself the most popular person inside Stamford Bridge.
Burnley, in the twentieth minute thought they`d scored when Vokes headed home but the goal was disallowed after Tarkowski was adjudged to have fouled Christensen who had come on for Boga as Conte stuck with his back-three.
In the twenty-fourth minute Burnley did take the lead when Vokes did get his name on the score-sheet, netting from twelve yards out, from a cross from Lowton, with the ball going in the bottom far corner beating Courtois who perhaps could have done better.
Chelsea 0 Burnley 1 (Vokes - 20 mins)
Willian tried to force the issue trying to burst through but Tardowski once again produced a good interception. Ten-men Chelsea were being out-done possession wise by a Burnley side relishing the moment.
Burnley, when pressed back, were dealing well with any Chelsea pressure but were looking to counter-attack, with pace, whenever possible and Rudiger, on his Premier League debut was forced into a great piece of defending when Brady looked dangerous.
Alonso, having previously delivered a cross straight into the arms of Heaton then saw a low shot kept out by that man Tardowski again. Kante, as industrious as ever in midfield, tried to find Azpilicueta with a through ball but it sped out of play on the lush Stamford Bridge turf.
Azpilicueta, now wearing the captains` armband, was starting to feature prominently with his raids forward as Chelsea pressed for an equaliser.
But in the thirty-ninth minute, the one goal deficit became two when Ward scored. The goal came from a free-kick which was taken shot, worked well and volleyed into the far corner by Ward.
Chelsea 0 Burnley 2 (Ward - 30 mins)
But matters were to get worse before half-time when Vokes, with a header, extend Burnley`s lead, after losing his marker, David Luiz. A nightmare start of the defence of the Premier League title by Chelsea.
Chelsea 0 Burnley 3 (Vokes - 43 mins)
Two goals in four minutes have made that mountain Chelsea had to climb something akin to Mount Everest.
Chelsea, with the half-time whistle approaching, saw a curled effort from Kante turned around the post for a corner.
Stamford Bridge was a sea of shocked faces as the whistle for half time sounded. What changes would Antonio Conte enforce at half-time to try and stop Chelsea slipping to a home defeat on the seasons` opening day for twenty-four years.
Half-Time - Chelsea 0 Burnley 3
As we awaited the start of the second half, Chelsea from being favourites to win this fixture had slipped to 66-1.
Didn`t I read somewhere that when the 1955 title winning side started their defence of the title they played Burnley in the first fixture of the following season and slipped to a 5-0 defeat?
The second half started with Conte switching to four at the back, Christensen, Rudiger, Luiz and Alonso but no further changes were made.
Rudiger, pushing forward, tried to reduce the arrears but his effort drifted wide. Heaton then produced a fine save from Alonso`s long-range shot as Chelsea upped the ante and tried to force their way back into the game.
Alonso forced a corner, with fifty-three minutes gone, but it was headed clear by Vokes. Two minutes later Alonso saw his cross hit the arm of Lowton but a penalty appeal was turned down by Craig Pawson.
The referee, in awarding a free-kick when Fabregas appeared to have won the ball further incensed the Stamford Bridge crowd. Burnley, looking to rub more salt in the wounds saw a header, from a corner, by Vokes drift wide.
On the hour mark Morata was given his Premier League debut when he was brought on to replace Batshuayi. Could the Spaniard induce the miracle needed to rescue something from the game?
Was it the substitution you`d have opted for or would you have gone two up-front?
The Spaniards first piece of the action saw a long-range shot fly over the bar. Alonso saw his free-kick whipped over the wall and then tipped over the bar by Heaton as Chelsea desperately looked for a way back into this game. The free-kick came after Willian was blocked some thirty-yards out by Brady.
After Morata was brought down by Mee, earning the defender a yellow card, David Luiz saw his effort, from a Fabregas pass, fly over the bar.
Morata, then reduced the arrears with a diving header to make it 3-1, with the Spaniard scoring on his Premier League debut for Chelsea, getting in between wo defenders to glance a cross from Willian past Heaton.
Chelsea 1 Burnley 3 (69 - mins)
The goal improved confidence in the Chelsea ranks, suddenly the players wanted the ball and taking responsibility for their actions. Azpilicueta fizzed a cross in from out wide but Heaton was on hand to collect it.
The ball was soon in the net again, when Christensen and Willian combined and Morata sticking it in from two-yards was deemed to be offside, but would it have gone in without that assist from the Spaniard?
Alonso was caught with a high challenge by Arfield and the Burnley player quite rightly received a yellow card. Luiz was then booked after questioning one decision made by Craig Pawson too many., this time disputing an offside decision given against Morata.
With the game entering the last ten minutes, Kante tried his luck from the edge of the box but his shot had too much movement and drifted away from the goal.
Seconds later Chelsea were reduced to nine-men when Fabregas was given a second yellow card, for a challenge on Cork, meaning the Spaniard will be another who misses the game against Tottenham next weekend.
Although the crowd were singing '3-1 to the referee` Pawson was given no choice, Fabregas will rue that first yellow card for a sarcastic clap.
Morata, still trying his best, saw a shot take a deflection of Cork, taking the pace off it enabling Heaton to make an easy save.
Although down to nine-men Chelsea were still trying to push forward, reducing the arrears further when David Luiz rushed into the penalty area to side-volley home the ball after Morata and Azpilicueta had been involved.
Chelsea 2 Burnley 3 (Luiz - 88 mins)
Burnley almost scored a fourth when, from a free-kick, Brady hit the foot of the post.
Four minutes of injury time were announced prompting a huge roar from the Chelsea faithful, but Burnley were keeping possession.
Halfway through stoppage time Musonda was thrown on in place of Christensen. A long free-kick was ushered out of the box by Burnley as time became of paramount importance.
One final chance fell to Chelsea but it hit the leg of Morata.
But Burnley hung on for an historic win, let the inquest begin.