Chelsea began their defence of the Premier League title with an appalling start to the 2017/18 campaign, losing 3-2 at home to Burnley. The Blues crumbled when captain Gary Cahill was sent off early in the first half, and his side were a shocking three goals down by the half-time whistle. Adding insult to injury, the west London side also set a rather undesirable record.
As reported by statistics Twitter page Opta Joe, Antonio Conte's side became the first reigning champions of the English top tier to ship three goals in their opening game the following season. Blues fans will be worried that this is an omen of things to come, as their side appeared a shadow of the team who stormed to the league title last season.
3 - Chelsea are the first reigning Premier League champions to concede three goals in their opening match of the next season. Collapse.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 12, 2017
Conte has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the skeleton crew he is expected to defend his title with, as the Blues went into yesterday's match with just 14 senior players available to take part. Chelsea have once again loaned out a string of young talent this season, and have sold the likes of Nathaniel Chalobah, Nemanja Matić and Nathan Aké to Premier League rivals.
Chelsea have the added pressure of Champions League football this season, and could find themselves fielding a string of inexperienced youth players across all four competitions they will take part in, if they don't strengthen their ranks. Conte has made it clear that the club must bring in fresh faces before the transfer window closes on the 31st August.
The Blues have set their sights on a number of potential signings to boost their depleted squad.
Defensive targets include PSG's Serge Aurier, Barcelona's Sergi Roberto and Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, while Everton's Ross Barkley, Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Inter Milan's Antonio Candreva are being closely monitored as midfield options.