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12 August 2017

Champions Chelsea stunned at home by Burnley

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.

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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.

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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.

courtois

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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