CHELSEA’S title defence got off to the worst possible start with a controversial 3-2 defeat at home to Burnley.
A Sam Vokes double either side of stunner from Stephen Ward did the damage as the champions played most the game with 10 men as Gary Cahill was sensationally sent off followed by a late dismissal of Cesc Fabregas.
Cahill lunged into the tackle leaving the Belgian in a heap. - and to the amazement of the home crowd refer Craig Pawson brandished the red card and sent Cahill for an early shower
That’s a three-match ban for the England defender who misses next weeks crunch visit to Wembley to face Spurs.
The complexion of the game changed from that moment and the visitors took control and went ahead when Sam Vokes forced the ball home from a Matt Lawton cross.
Sean Dyche watched his sit act softer going up but saw his side double their lead when the champions were caught napping from a free worked to Ward by the impressive Jack Cork.
Ward cut in from the left to unleash a stunning left foot drive that gave Thibaut Courtois no chance.
All Antonio Conte could do was standby and watch his team fall apart and Vokes got his second and his sides third to end the game as a contest just before the interval.
The Welsh international was given the freedom of West London to head home from a free kick.
Alvaro Morata was introduced on the hour for his home debut and Burnley keeper Tom Heston was forced to make his first meaningful save from a Marcos Alonso free kick.
With a sense of injustice, the home fans were putting referee Pawson under huge pressure every time a Chelsea player wears fouled.
Debutant Antonio Rudiger did himself in favours throwing himself into a clearance and trying to earn a penalty - that could be one for the panel who will or monitor player simulation.
Despite being amen down Chelsea were this better side in the second period and deserved their first goals of the season.
Morata gave the champions a lifeline on 68 minutes when he bagged his first goal for the the Blues heading home after a fabulous cross from Willian.
Conte's side thought they were right back in it when sub Andreas Christensen's effort was ruled out for offside when Morata was deemed have got the final touch.
A hugely disappointing start to the season for the champions, which was made worse by Fabregas’ late dismissal thanks to a second yellow, and the names of the Blues subs bench will see Conte banging on Roman Abramovich's door for reinforcements before the window shuts.
And even David Luiz's late strike to make it 3-2 could not paper over the cracks.
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Chelsea boss Antonio Conte: "The sending off of Cahill was a key moment, because to play the rest of the game with 10 and then nine men is not easy. I don't want to comment on the referee, absolutely not.
"We tried until the end to reach a good result against Burnley - it was a pity because our fight in the second half was very good. But in our first half, we kept losing our heads. After the red card we lost our heads, conceded three goals and then it's very difficult to change the final result.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: "Winning away from home on the first day quietens down some stories - we're written off at the start of every season. It kills off a few things early doors and it allows the players that space for growth.
"Chelsea have players of such calibre and to see the game through is so pleasing."
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