Champions Chelsea fall to Burnley
Sam Vokes scored twice as Burnley torpedoed defending champions Chelsea 3-2 at Stamford Bridge yesterday in one of the most sensational opening-weekend results in English top flight history.
Chelsea had captain Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas sent off and Burnley took full advantage through Vokes’s brace and a superb Stephen Ward effort, with goals from Alvaro Morata and David Luiz coming in vain.
Leicester City lost 2-1 at Hull City on the first day last season, but given the unexpected nature of their title win, this was the biggest opening-day shock since Aston Villa’s 3-1 win over Manchester United in 1995.
Huddersfield Town marked their top flight return with a remarkable 3-0 win at Crystal Palace that sent them top of the table, while Wayne Rooney bagged the winner on his Everton comeback in a 1-0 victory over Stoke City.
Burnley’s win, their first at Chelsea since 1971, further blackened the mood around Stamford Bridge after a close season during which manager Antonio Conte has grown frustrated by his side’s lack of transfer activity.
Conte was without the injured Eden Hazard and out-of-favour striker Diego Costa and started with £58 million ($75.5 million, 63.8 million euros) signing Morata on the bench.
Youth-team graduate Jeremie Boga made his debut, but was hauled off in the reshuffle that followed Cahill’s 14th-minute dismissal for a reckless, studs-up foul on Steven Defour.
Vokes put Burnley ahead in the 24th minute, volleying in from Matthew Lowton’s cross.
Ward doubled the visitors’ advantage in the 39th minute with a blistering left-foot strike from Jack Cork’s lofted pass and Vokes added a third before halftime, heading in Defour’s cross.
Halftime substitute Morata and Luiz reduced the arrears in the second half, either side of Fabregas’s 81st-minute dismissal for a second yellow card, but Burnley hung on for a famous victory.