Premier League champions Chelsea endured a nightmare start to their title defense, losing 3-2 at home to Burnley on Matchday 1 in the league.
It was a first ever Premier League win for Burnley over the Blues, and more memorable they achieved the landmark feat at the backyard of the champions.
It all started wrongly for Chelsea when Captain Gary Cahill failed to lead by example, getting himself needlessly sent off for a dangerous challenge on Steven Defour inside the opening quarter of an hour.
Cesc Fabregas soon took the walk of shame in the second half after two yellow cards, but it must be said that the Spanish midfielder set himself up by sarcastically applauding the referee which earned him his first yellow card.
David Luiz, Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger all appeared to lose their heads during the game, an indication that all isn’t well within the ranks of the Blues.
Those images brought back memories of the opening day draw two seasons ago against Swansea City at the Bridge, coincidentally the first game of a title defense which saw Jose Mourinho having a go at the club doctor at that time, Eva Carneiro. The game also saw Oscar refuse to celebrate his opening strike, as he was presumed to be unhappy about the ongoing behind the scene.
It is needless to say it was a disastrous campaign for Chelsea that year, as they set all the negative records of a start to a season by the defending champions. Mourinho like Antonio Conte had just signed a new contract extension after the league triumph but was shown the exit door only four months into the new campaign.
Chelsea also became the first UEFA Champions League holders to be knocked out in the group phase of the competition in 2012, another example of a wobbling and fumbling start to life as defending champions of a competition, championship.
The big question now is, are Chelsea jinxed whenever they win a major title? From the above analysis, it is an indication that the Blues might suffer a similar fate to what happened to them two seasons ago. The team looks disoriented and very lightweight on the bench even with the full complement of the galaxy of stars.
Conte made a huge tactical blunder on Saturday following Cahill’s sending off. He took out Jeremie Boga for Andreas Christensen whose pace, and physicality would have troubled Stephen Ward. Retaining his tried and trusted 3-man defense line after going down to 10-men was a wrong move. Christensen came on and slotted into
Christensen came on and slotted into defense alongside Luiz and Rudiger, yet the team conceded three goals, hence the substitution was a failed one. A more attack minded 4-4-1 formation which would have seen Willian and Boga providing adequate support to the isolated Michy Batshuayi in attack would have been more ideal.
Chelsea and Conte must desperately try to move on from the opening day setback, though the Blues have become only the second ever defending champions to lose on the opening day of a new season. The first team was Leicester City who lost while been managed coincidentally by another Italian manager Claudio Ranieri, who was also a former Chelsea employee.
Hopefully, all these signs should add up to nothing, as the Chelsea have more than enough time on their hands, to avoid a deja vu from the past.