Chelsea 2 Burnley 3
Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas were both sent off as Chelsea’s defence of the Premier League crown began with defeat despite a rousing comeback.
Already down to the bare bones through injuries and suspension, Cahill compounded the situation just 13 minutes into his first game as the Blues’ permanent captain when he overran the ball in the Burnley half and ended up going in over the top on Steven Defour.
Burnley then stunned a fractious Stamford Bridge by racing into a 3-0 lead by half-time, Sam Vokes scoring twice either side of an angle drive by Stephen Ward.
Alvaro Morata came off the bench to score on his debut but and David Luiz reduced the deficit after the dismissal of Fabregas, but they had left themselves with too much to do.
With Pedro, Eden Hazard and new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko injured, Victor Moses suspended and Morata not fit enough to start, Chelsea handed debuts to Antonio Rudiger and 20-year-old winger Jeremie Boga.
Boga was sacrificed for Andreas Christensen after Cahill’s dismissal, which will see the skipper miss next week’s visit to Wembley to face Tottenham, as well as games with Everton and Leicester.
Burnley did not take long to make their numerical advantage count as full-back Matt Lowton’s cross from the right was hooked goalwards by Vokes, the ball taking a slight touch off David Luiz before beating the scrambling Thibaut Courtois.
Burnley doubled their lead six minutes before the break, Ward arrowing a shot into the far corner, and Stamford Bridge was stunned again when Defour picked out the unmarked Vokes to head in.
Marcos Alonso was the driving force behind Chelsea’s early dominance of the second half, as he was twice denied by Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, including a superb save from a free-kick.
Morata was introduced on 58 minutes and he capped his first appearance with a goal as he snuck in behind the Burnley defence to nod in Willian’s cross.
Chelsea piled on the pressure but went down to nine men after Fabregas – who had been booked in the first half for sarcastically applauding the referee – was shown a second yellow for a foul on Jack Cork.
Despite this, the Blues threw themselves a lifeline when Morata found Luiz, and he fired past Heaton.
Robbie Brady hit the post for Burnley from a free-kick and the visitors somehow held out despite a late onslaught in injury time.
Chelsea: Courtois; Rudiger, Luiz, Cahill; Azpilicueta, Kante, Fabregas, Alonso; Willian, Batshuayi (Morata 58), Boga (Christensen 16 (Musonda 90)).
Subs not used: Caballero, Tomori, Scott, Kenedy.