Chelsea’s title defence got off to the worst possible start at home to Burnley with a 3-2 defeat.
Gary Cahill’s first Premier League campaign as Chelsea club captain did not start well, the defender was sent off for over stretching and lunging into to midfielder Steven Defour.
Two goals from Sam Vokes either side of a Stephen Ward strike gave Burnley all three points, despite consolation goals from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz.
We look at what we learned against Burnley.
Squad depth, what depth?
‘Conte was sending a message’ was the reaction of most when they saw the XI that line up against Burnley on Saturday. Jeremie Boga was handed a start on the opening day, rather than starting Morata alongside Michy Batshuayi.
It’s all too easy to say that the Italian was sending a message to the board because there just are not the players to choose from. Players like Pedro, Eden Hazard and Tiemoue Bakayoko all injured, Victor Moses suspended, so it’s not a true reflection of the Chelsea squad, but looking past those injured, the options are not there.
Signings are needed in key positions, particularly at wing-back, with competition or an improvement on Victor Moses required. It was telling that Kasey Palmer, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Kurt Zouma and Isaiah Brown were all starting Premier League matches yesterday, not to mention Nathaniel Chalobah. Is the loan system beginning to show its flaws?
Alvaro Morata is ready
The summer signing came off the bench in the second half and was arguably the best Chelsea player on the pitch.
The Spaniard showed that he is ready to start for Chelsea. An impressive debut from the former Madrid man was partnered by a disappointing showing from Batshuayi, who struggled to take the game by the scruff of the neck.
He showcased his striker’s instinct in the box with some great positioning to find himself on the end of a cross and head home to get Chelsea back into the game.
His assist to David Luiz’s goal was equally impressive, with a perfectly-weighted header over the defence to find the Brazilian. Don’t be surprised to see him start against Tottenham on Sunday.
David Luiz must be criticised
Last season the Brazilian was one of the club’s most underrated players. Nobody believed in him, pundits had written him off before he had kicked a ball, but he proved everybody wrong.
One of the best central defenders in the league last season, but on Saturday, Luiz was at the heart of Chelsea’s problems and has to be held responsible for two of Burnley’s three goals.
The defender was far too timid for the opening goal and needed to be tighter to Vokes. The Welshman was gifted a free run into the penalty area and had too much room to manoeuvre a shot at goal.
It was Luiz initially marking Vokes again for the third goal but the striker lost his man all too easily to find space in the box.
Problems brewing for Spurs at Wembley
If Chelsea weren’t short of numbers already, they now have two red cards to deal with. After Fabregas’ red card, Chelsea now face a selection headache in midfield, which could see Luiz pushed forward into a more advanced position against Spurs.
Both Luiz and Andreas Christensen can play in midfield, but the latter is likely to drop into defence in order to allow the Brazilian to play further forward.
With Hazard and Bakayoko both unlikely to be ready in time, it’s not the start Chelsea would have wished for.