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Chelsea stunned by pumped-up Burnley

NORTHERN DELIGHT: Burnley players celebrate in west London

SEAN DYCHE’S Burnley had to wait until April for an away victory in the league last season but were left celebrating three points at the home of the champions on the opening Saturday this time around

There was an element of disbelief around Stamford Bridge as Sam Vokes’ second goal gave the visitors a 3-0 lead against a ten-man Chelsea on the verge of half time. Burnley had expertly profited from the disarray caused by Gary Cahill’s 14th-minute sending off, with Vokes’ brace bookending a neat finish from Stephen Ward.

A sense of injustice spurred on Chelsea’s riposte, which only grew when Cesc Fabregas became the second player to walk, for a second yellow card, less than ten minutes after substitute Alvaro Morata had reduced the arrears to 3-1. David Luiz’s late goal ensured a frantic finish but Burnley held on.

Referee Craig Pawson was a convenient target but Chelsea’s downfall was largely of their own making, as well as cool finishing from their opponents.

Vokes hooked in a scuffed finish under minimal pressure in the 24th minute as Chelsea players failed to react to Matt Lowton’s cross.

There were 39 minutes on the clock when Ward controlled Jack Cork’s lofted pass and steered a superb shot beyond Thibaut Courtois from a tight ankle. Five minute later Vokes met Steven Defour’s cross to power home the third. Delirium for Burnley.

Would any of this have happened with Cahill on the field? Chelsea's new club captain was dismissed for a clumsy challenge on Defour early in this contest. Andreas Christensen, fresh from two loan spells at Borussia Monchengladbach, came on in his stead but was not helped by a collective loss of composure. He himself would later be substituted as Chelsea chased the game.

Antonio Conte’s team suffered without the suspended Victor Moses and the injured duo of Eden Hazard and Pedro. They still had the quality to peg Burnley back, particularly as the visitors tired as the second half wore on, but lacked subtlety in their approach.

With Diego Costa out of commission, Conte seemed to be making a statement about his pressing need for reinforcements when he handed Jeremie Boga his debut up front, but the young Ivorian was an early tactical casualty when Cahill was dismissed.

Chelsea lost their heads temporarily, with Fabregas’ decision to sarcastically applaud a Pawson decision, earning his first yellow, later coming back to haunt him when he clipped Cork’s heel in the 81st minute.

The hosts’ frustration was mixed with defiance as they fought back. Morata stooped to nod home a Christensen cross and then a typically determined run from David Luiz saw the Brazilian evade make it 3-2.

Burnley stood firm, their solid performance based on last season's template. More results away from Turf Moor will be needed this term but this was a magnificent start to life without Michael Keane and Andre Gray.

Where Conte and Chelsea go from here will be of considerable interest in the weeks ahead.

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