Burnley 1 Chelsea 3Burnley fell to a defeat on their return to the big time as title contenders Chelsea showed quality in abundance at a packed Turf Moor.
Scott Arfield got the stadium rocking when he sent the Clarets into a stunning lead inside a frantic opening quarter of an hour.
However, goals from Diego Costa, recent World Cup winner André Schürrle and Branislav Ivanović turned the game in the visitors’ favour before the break.
The Blues were simply too quick, powerful and organised for a Burnley team that showed the sort of will and desire they have become renowned for.
Lukas Jutkiewicz and Matt Taylor were handed their competitive bows for the Clarets as Sean Dyche named an otherwise familiar-looking starting eleven to the one that clinched promotion last season.
Meanwhile, José Mourinho’s Chelsea had summer signings Cesc Fàbregas and Diego Costa in their line-up. Premier League debutant Thibaut Courtois got the nod in goal.
Temperature inside Turf Moor reached boiling point when the teams emerged from the tunnel ahead of kick-off with fans located in the Jimmy McIlroy stand displaying a special claret-and-blue ‘Our Turf BFC’ message to the watching world.
And the action was soon underway as Burnley began their first game in the Premier League since May 2010 amidst great excitement among the sell-out crowd.
Jutkiewcz had the match’s first shot within seconds as the Clarets looked to start the game on the front foot.
The visitors responded on four minutes when Schürrle’s effort from just outside the box was deflected inches wide of the post.
It was an end-to-end beginning. Moments later Taylor played in Jutkiewicz into the penalty area and the forward got the better of Ivanović before striking the ball into the side-netting on his right foot.
And it was Burnley who took the lead inside the fast-paced opening to the game.
Chelsea could only half-clear a corner and when the ball arrived back at the feet of Taylor out on the left, he lifted his head and intelligently lofted it to the edge of the box.
There was Arfield who controlled the ball and struck it into the roof of the net beyond the reach of Courtois to send the home supporters in to raptures.
The visitors reacted immediately though. Ivanović’s fizzed ball in across the face of goal was deflected against the base of the post by Jason Shackell before Costa blasted it home to bring the Blues back on level terms.
Not long afterwards, Chelsea provided evidence as to why they are many people’s favourites to clinch the title this season.
The attack was played at a simply blistering pace as Ivanović found Fàbregas on the edge of the box and the Spaniard sent Schürrle – breaking from deep – through on goal with a sensational first-time pass allowing the Germany international to calmly sidefoot the ball into the net.
On 30 minutes, it could have been further damage as a short backpass by Ben Mee presented Diego Costa with a one on one situation. The Spanish international got to the ball first before falling into the ground.
To the relief of the Turf faithful, referee Michael Oliver booked the forward for simulation.
However, four minutes later, the visitors scored again as Fàbregas’ in-swinging corner was volleyed in from close range by Ivanović.
Sean Dyche’s Clarets quickly sent a reminder that they never give up, though.
Jutkiewicz found Taylor once again and the summer signing’s ball in was turned narrowly off target by Danny Ings at the near post.
The Burnley number 10 was again involved straight after the restart when he tried his luck from distance as the Clarets searched for a way back into the match.
On 49 minutes, Arfield went desperately close to his second.
The midfielder cut inside into his left foot before unleashing a superb effort that Courtois somehow turned behind for a corner.
It was then Jutkiewicz’s turn to have an effort at goal just past the hour-mark, but despite allowing their opponents more possession than in the opening 45 minutes Chelsea – who boasted last season’s best defensive record in the division – looked relatively comfortable.
Promotion heroes Ashley Barnes and Michael Kightly, along with another summer signing Marvin Sordell, were introduced into the action at different points of the second half.
However, the visitors ran the clock down by patiently keeping possession of the ball as they held on to their well-earned lead.
Despite the defeat, Burnley left the pitch to a standing ovation from the Clarets faithful who clearly enjoyed and appreciated their first taste of Premier League football in over four years.
Burnley: Heaton – Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee – Arfield, Marney, Jones, Taylor (Kightly 70) – Ings (Sordell 82), Jutkiewicz (Barnes 70).
Subs not used: Gilks, Long, Dummigan, Wallace.
Chelsea: Courtois – Ivanović, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta – Oscar (Obi Mikel 82), Matić, Fàbregas – Schürrle (Willian 78), Diego Costa, Hazard (Drogba 84).
Subs not used: Čech, Zouma, Filipe Luís, Torres.
Goals: Arfield 14 – Diego Costa 17, Schürrle 21, Ivanović 34
Bookings: Sordell – Diego Costa
Referee: Michael Oliver