Chelsea began their Premier League campaign in appalling fashion, with a 3-2 loss at home to Burnley – in which Chelsea were reduced to nine men.
A terrible pre-season and a lack of squad depth were evident in the opening exchanges as Chelsea started sloppily, and on 14 minutes a lazy lunge from Gary Cahill – reminiscent of the same one that saw Pedro sent off against Arsenal last week, was punished with Chelsea’s third red card in just three competitive games.
Following the sending off Chelsea failed to gather themselves and push on, instead letting Burnley dictate play, and subsequently take the lead through Sam Vokes – who volleyed past Thibaut Courtois.
Burnley then took complete control of proceedings in a four-minute blitz that saw Stephen Ward hammering home before Vokes added his second with a bullet header just before half-time.
The second-half saw Chelsea improve as Alvaro Morata came on for his Premier League debut, and just ten minutes after he scored his first goal the Blues – heading in to reduce the deficit. Morata again played a crucial role, but this time in seeing Andreas Christensen’s goal bound effort ruled out for offside – as he added a needless touch to the Dane’s shot.
Again though Morata made amends, cleverly nodding the ball into the path of David Luiz who poked the ball into the back of the net. Chelsea’s late resurgence came to little too late and Burnley held out for a brilliant away victory over the reigning champions. Cesc Fabregas was also sent off late on to consolidate Chelsea’s nightmare start to the season.
Here are the player ratings:
Thibaut Courtois – 5
Should have done much better with Vokes’ opener, but was unlucky to see his defence let him down for the other two goals.
Antonio Rudiger – 5
Struggled to get to grips with the high tempo, and following Cahill’s red card he was switched to the left of the back three – by playing out of position, Rudiger continued to struggle.
David Luiz – 6
Scored a consolation goal late on, but didn’t even bother competing with Vokes in the air for the Burnley striker’s second goal.
Gary Cahill – 5
A five is vindicated due to the fact that his red card was extremely harsh and he hadn’t put a foot wrong prior to the sending off. Having said that, this was one of the worst possible ways to kick off his reign as Chelsea captain.
Cesar Azpilicueta – 5
Couldn’t replicate the attacking prowess of the suspended Victor Moses, and looked unnatural at right wing-back, a trait not commonly associated with the versatile Spaniard.
Cesc Fabregas – 4
Very clumsy decision to get himself sent off when Chelsea were chasing the game, especially considering he was the architect of most of Chelsea’s play.
N’Golo Kante – 6
A tireless shift from Kante, but he switched off at a key moment to allow Ward to volley in Burnley’s second goal. He was also slow to close down Lowton’s cross for Vokes’ second goal.
Marcos Alonso – 6
As per usual, he was one of Chelsea’s biggest threats going forward, seeing two of his shots saved.
Willian – 6
Great cross for Morata’s goal, but otherwise ineffectual while Batshuayi was on the pitch.
Michy Batshuayi – 4
A really poor pass completion rate, so much so that he was sarcastically cheered by home fans when he completed a pass. His movement was non-existent and as a result, Chelsea failed to find the space needed to penetrate the Burnley back line.
Jeremie Boga – 5
Unlucky to be chosen as the player to come off for Christensen following Cahill’s sending off.
Andreas Christensen – 5
Would have grabbed a goal was it not for Morata’s touch, but his defending was ultimately naive and he will have suffered a baptism of fire today – character building? Let’s hope so.
Alvaro Morata – 9
Scored and assisted in his first Chelsea appearance. He loves a debut – having now scored in his La Liga, Serie A and Premier League debuts. Disappointing to see his touch rule out Christensen’s shot but his predatory instinct will become useful over what looks set to be an arduous season.
Charly Musonda – N/A
Chelsea couldn’t find an equalising goal in the few minutes he was on the pitch.