Chelsea made an awful start to their Premier League title defence as they fell to a 3-2 defeat by Burnley that featured red cards for Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas.

Cahill was sent off  after only 14 minutes when he ended Steven Defour’s run with a high tackle that was clumsy rather malicious.

Even when a man down Antonio Conte could not have predicted the capitulation that followed as Burnley stormed 3-0 ahead through two goals from Sam Vokes and a terrific strike by Stephen Ward.

Assisted by a woeful home defence, the underdogs were out of sight by half-time and although Chelsea dominated the second-half with £60 million striker Alvaro Morata on target, they had left themselves too much ground to claw back.

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Fabregas was given his marching orders after receiving two yellow cards but, despite being reduced to nine men, the champions added a second through David Luiz that at least highlighted a level of desire that was missing before the break.

Conte is reported to be unsatisfied with the club’s transfer activity and his lack of say in the recruitment process, and on the evidence of his team’s early disarray at Stamford Bridge the problems extend on to the pitch.

The Blues however have to put this set back behind them as their next game is with Spurs who would definitely prove to be a more sturdier opponent.

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