Champions Chelsea suffered a nightmare start to their Premier League title defence, having two men sent off as a Burnley claimed a superb win at Stamford Bridge.
It would be easy but misleading to lay the blame for the Blues’ defeat on the decision to show a red card to new club captain Gary Cahill for a lunging tackle on Steven Defour midway through the first half.
But that would deprive Burnley their due for a disciplined, energetic and ruthless display that saw them score three times before the break, with Sam Vokes netting twice – a header and a volley – either side of a lashing angled drive from Stephen Ward.
The Blues were better after the break and pulled a goal back when summer signing Alvaro Morata headed in shortly after coming off the bench.
However, the Spaniard was also at fault for denying the home side a second goal, adding an unnecessary touch to Andreas Christiansen’s goal-bound shot from an offside position.
Chelsea’s hopes looked to have gone when a late challenge from Cesc Fabregas on Jack Cork added a second yellow to the first he received for dissent to leave the Blues with nine men.
But David Luiz fired home from inside the box after being set up by a Morata header to set up a frantic final few minutes, during which Burnley struck the post through Robbie Brady before holding on to take the three points.
There was no doubt about the secret behind Burnley’s Premier League survival last season – their form at Turf Moor.
Sean Dyche’s team had the ninth-best record in the top division – picking up 33 points at home.
In contrast, they mustered just seven away from home – and just one between the start of the season and the end of February, with a goalless draw at Manchester United on 29 October.
They didn’t win away from Turf Moor until a 2-0 victory at Crystal Palace on 29 April – and so the achievement of their opening-day victory at the current champions should not be under-estimated.
If Burnley can regularly pick up points on their travels while maintaining the sort of form they showed at home, then it bodes well for their prospects this season.
Source: BBC Sport