Burnley’s bolt out of the Blues
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea opened their defence of the Premier League title with a league fixture against Burnley at Stamford Bridge with a traditional three o’ clock kick off time on Saturday in August. After Marcos Alonso was booked for a foul on Matthew Lowton, a free kick by Robbie Brady was headed by Ben Mee into the clutches of Thibaut Courtois during the third minute. In the seventh minute, from an over the top delivery by Cesc Fabregas, the ball was blasted over on the right from Cesar Azpilicueta. But Chelsea were dealt a major blow on thirteen minutes, as Blues captain, Gary Cahill, received a straight red card for a two footed lunge into Steven Defour, as referee Craig Pawson gave Cahill his marching orders. Then Fabregas was brandished a yellow card for applauding referee Pawson, after he turned over Jeff Hendrick. The Blues swiftly changed Jeremie Boga with Andreas Christensen. As the Clarets tried to make use of the one man advantage, Sam Vokes had a headed goal ruled out for offside. But midway through the first half, Vokes scored a goal that counted, when from Lowton’s delivery, a half hit volley by Vokes crept underneath Courtois, into the bottom left corner. But is was double trouble for Chelsea, when from Jack Cork’s ball over, Stephen Ward, hammered a left footed shot into the right hand side of the net, in the thirty ninth minute, to give Burnley a two goal cushion. Chelsea were again caught by surprise in the forty second minute, when after Jeff Hendrick was fouled by Antonio Rudiger, a quickly taken free kick by Robbie Brady found Defour, whose cross from the right was met by a powerful header by Vokes into the top left corner for a 3-0 Clarets lead. Before the half time break, from Alonso’s lay off, N’Golo Kante’s strike from outside the area, was deflected narrowly over off Defour. Four minutes into the second half, Tom Heaton was called into action as he tipped over a fierce long range strike from Alonso, after he had been given the ball by Fabregas. On fifty three minutes, Michy Batshuayi had an effort saved by Heaton after being found from Kante. Soon after the Blues switched Batshuayi with Alvaro Morata. On the hour mark, Burnley received their first yellow card after Brady pushed over Willian, and from the resulting free kick, it was bent over the wall by Alonso, and the ball was acrobatically turned over from Heaton, who sprung to his left. Ben Mee then saw yellow for charging down Morata, and from a Fabregas free kick, the ball was lofted over by David Luiz, in the sixty fourth minute. Burnley pressed again as Brady put an effort into the outside netting of the left post, following a delivery by Johann Berg Gudmundsson. But in the sixty ninth minute, the Blues pulled a goal back, as from Willian’s deep cross, a close range header by Morata, nestled into the bottom left corner. Then from another Willian cross, a low drive by Christensen was put into the net by Morata in an offside position as the goal did not stand. The Clarets made a double change of Jonathan Walters for Defour and Scott Arfield for Gudmundsson. Burnley pressed again, off a Brady corner, as Mee headed the ball against the body of Courtois. Soon, Arfield was yellow carded for a foul on Alonso. In the eightieth minute, Christensen played the ball back to Kante, who bent his strike past the top left corner. Having been booked in the first half, Fabregas got a second yellow and was sent off for a lunge into Cork, reducing Chelsea to nine men. Heaton then smothered a low strike by Morata, through an assist by Cesar Azpilicueta in the eighty fifth minute. But in the next two minutes, the Blues pulled another goal back, as Azpilicueta’s high ball, was headed on by Morata, and a low left footed strike by Luiz, was driven into the centre of the net. Near the end, Rudiger was booked for appending Vokes, and from a direct free kick by Brady, the ball cannoned against the bottom left post. In added time Charly Musonda replaced Christensen. A last ditch chance fell to Alonso but his shot hit Morata in the box as Burnley held out to win 3-2.