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Champions Chelsea stunned by Burnley on Premier League opening day

From ESPN - August 12, 2017

Chelsea made a dismal start to their Premier League title defence as they fell to a 3-2 defeat by Burnley that featured red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas.

Cahill was sent off by referee Craig Pawson after only 14 minutes when he ended Steven Defour's run with a high tackle that was clumsy rather malicious.

Even when a man down Antonio Conte could not have predicted the capitulation that followed as Burnley stormed 3-0 ahead through two goals from Sam Vokes and a terrific strike by Stephen Ward.

Assisted by a woeful home defence, the underdogs were out of sight by half-time and although Chelsea dominated the second-half with 60 million striker Alvaro Morata on target, they had left themselves too much ground to claw back.

Fabregas was given his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards but, despite being reduced to nine men, the champions added a second through David Luiz that at least highlighted a level of desire that was missing before the break.

Former England captain Alan Shearer had said of Chelsea that there is "something brewing which is not nice'' and their first-half implosion in a thrilling match would appear to give his view credibility.

Conte is reported to be unsatisfied with the club's transfer activity and his lack of say in the recruitment process, and on the evidence of his team's early disarray at Stamford Bridge the problems extend on to the pitch.

It began to unravel before the quarter-hour mark when Cahill was shown a straight red card for his lunge at Defour before Fabregas was booked for sarcastically clapping Pawson.

Temperatures rose as furious home fans jeered the referee but their taunts were directed at Burnley's supporters shortly after when Vokes had a goal disallowed for a foul in the build-up.

The pendulum had swung in the wake of Cahill's dismissal and in the 24th minute Vokes propelled Burnley ahead when he steered a cross by Matthew Lowton into the net.

It was a scruffy shot that beat Thibaut Courtois and the Chelsea keeper had every right to feel aggrieved with Luiz, who turned his back on Vokes as the ball arrived.

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