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Cahill dismissal leaves Chelsea reeling as Blues are stunned by Burnley

Cahill dismissal leaves Chelsea reeling as Blues are stunned by Burnley
From ESPN - August 12, 2017

Chelsea endured a nightmare start to the defence of the Premier League title they won in convincing fashion last season as Burnley ran out 3-2 winners in suspense-filled thriller at Stamford Bridge.

Referee Craig Pawson was the focal point of home supporters' ire as he sent off Chelsea skipper Gary Cahill off early on, thereby plunging the Blues into defensive disarray. A brace from Sam Vokes split by a goal from Stephen Ward put Burnley 3-0 up before the break as Pawson's decisions continued to invite criticism.

Chelsea battled back in the second half with goals from substitute Alvaro Morata and David Luiz but ended the game with nine men as Cesc Fabregas was dismissed late on.

Positives

There was enough combative spirit on display to suggest there is no crisis in the camp and the eye-catching performance of sub Morata suggests they have a striker capable of filling Diego Costa's prolific goal-scoring boots.

Negatives

The needless loss of Cahill and Fabregas to suspension could prove calamitous, given Chelsea's resources are already stretched. Antonio Conte must now plan for life without them for the trip to Wembley to face Tottenham next week.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- Conte's selection bore the hallmarks of a plea for reinforcements. Is that the right thing to do though? The indication that Morata was not ready to start seemed a little far-fetched, given the striker's livewire performance when he entered the fray.

Player ratings (1-10, 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Thibaut Courtois, 6 -- A victim of cruel circumstance. The last thing Courtois would have expected was that he'd be picking the ball out of the net three times in the first half and then spend the closing moments of the game playing as a sweeper.

DF Antonio Rudiger, 5 -- A debut to forget for the Germany international, who was caught in the crossfire of the Cahill drama. Clearly fazed by the fallout of the incident, by the time he got to grips with the task at hand it was too late. Looked more robust in the second half and posed a threat going forward.

DF David Luiz, 7 -- With Cahill off the pitch and the Blues 3-0 down, it was down to the Brazilian to lead a fight-back. Luiz never gave up the cause and gave supporters hope with a lovely late goal. In the end it was not enough, and the distress the defender displayed as he lay down on his back at the final whistle showed what the defeat meant to him.

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