Defending champion Chelsea stumbles in opener
BURNLEY 3, CHELSEA 2
On and off the field, nothing is going right for Chelsea early in its English Premier League title defense. Injuries to key players. Frustration in the transfer market. And on Saturday in London, in the opening weekend of the Premier League season, Chelsea suffered a surprise 3-2 home loss to Burnley, a team that is expected to be among the candidates for relegation.
After a dream start to life at Chelsea — winning the league title last year — Manager Antonio Conte already looks to have a tough job on his hands in his second season.
“I am not worried,” Conte said. “I am ready to fight [on the same side as] these players.”
They’ll need to fight, with title favorite Manchester City’s expensively assembled team starting with a 2-0 win at Brighton. Of other possible title contenders, Liverpool drew at Watford, 3-3, after Arsenal beat Leicester, 4-3, on Friday.
Boos greeted both the halftime and final whistle as Chelsea fans encountered the unusual feeling of a home loss under Conte, after 17 wins in 19 league games at Stamford Bridge last season.
The jeers likely were directed at the match officials, with Chelsea having seen a player sent off in both halves. Gary Cahill was shown a straight red card in the 14th minute for a studs-first lunge, and Burnley capitalized by scoring three times before halftime through Sam Vokes (twice) and Stephen Ward.
Liverpool also stumbled in its opener, a 3-3 tie at Watford. The absence of playmaker Philippe Coutinho didn’t stop the goals flowing for Liverpool. The problem, as ever, came on the defensive end. Liverpool conceded the tying goal in second-half injury time. It was the latest in a stretch of defensive lapses that blighted the team’s title challenge last season.
And Wayne Rooney marked his first Premier League game back at Everton, his boyhood club, by scoring in a 1-0 win over visiting Stoke. Rooney headed home a right-wing cross in firsthalf injury time to score.
“It was a special moment for me,” Rooney said of the goal.
GERMANY: Borussia Dortmund began its German Cup defense by beating FC Rielasingen-Arlen, 4-0, and Bayern Munich also progressed easily.
Dortmund’s game began with more attention off the field than on it after the club banned Ousmane Dembele from playing and training with the side Thursday. The forward failed to show for training as Barcelona made a bid reported to be worth $124 million.
MLS: Clint Dempsey scored on a header in the 36th minute, and the Seattle Sounders stretched their unbeaten streak to eight games with a 1-0 victory against visiting Sporting Kansas City . . . .
Justin Meram scored in the 73rd minute to help the Columbus Crew beat the visiting Chicago Fire, 3-1 . . . .
Sean Davis assisted on the go-ahead goal and added an insurance goal in the 80th minute to lift the New York Red Bulls to a contentious 3-1 win over Orlando City in Harrison, N.J. There were four yellow cards, and Orlando’s Kaka was given a red card . . . .
Teal Bunbury scored his fourth goal in five matches, helping the New England Revolution defeat the Vancouver Whitecaps, 1-0, in Foxborough, Mass.
Burnley’s Sam Vokes, right, scores the opening goal against Chelsea. He scored a second goal as well.