LONDON, (Reuters) Premier League champions Chelsea suffered an embarrassing home defeat on the first Saturday of the new season, having two men sent off as unfancied Burnley beat them 3-2 at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester City, the bookmakers’ favourites to take their crown this season, had no such problems seeing off promoted Brighton & Hove Albion 2-0 in Saturday’s late game, while Liverpool were held at Watford and Wayne Rooney scored Everton’s winner on his return against Stoke.
City’s win made defeat doubly disappointing for Antonio Conte, whose disjointed Chelsea side struggled from the early stages when captain Gary Cahill was dismissed for a lunging tackle and found themselves three-nil down at halftime to a team who had not won at the ground since 1971.
Wales international Sam Vokes scored two of the goals and Stephen Ward the other.
New signing Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid came on to pull one back midway through the second half and then provided an assist for David Luiz, but in between midfielder Cesc Fabregas was also sent off for a second yellow card.
City managed to keep their heads at Brighton’s Amex Stadium despite a frustrating first 68 minutes in which they failed to break down their opponents.
City manager Pep Guardiola spent more than 200 million pounds ($260.22 million) in the summer and gave debuts to four players, but it was old favourite Sergio Aguero who broke the deadlock before a Lewis Dunk own goal sealed the disappointment for a raucous home crowd experiencing top-flight football for the first time in 34 years.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp protested that Watford’s stoppage-time equaliser by Manuel Britos in an entertaining 3-3 draw should have been disallowed for offside.
“We were unlucky in the end,” Klopp said. “The equaliser was offside. It’s obvious because the linesman is on the line. He needs to see it.”
After the opening game of the season on Friday between Arsenal and Leicester City produced seven goals, Vicarage Road saw a similar level of entertainment – including some poor defending.
The home side, under new manager Marco Silva, led twice through Stefano Okaka and Abdoulaye Doucoure but Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, with a penalty, both equalised.
Debutant Mohamed Salah seemed to have won the points for the visitors before Britos’s dramatic late intervention.
Promoted Huddersfield Town, playing in the top flight for the first time since 1972 and widely tipped for relegation, cruised to a 3-0 win away to Crystal Palace and spend the night on top of the table.
Record signing Steve Mounie, the Benin striker from Montpellier who cost 13 million euros ($15.36 million), scored once in each half after Palace’s Joel Ward put through his own goal.
Wayne Rooney scored on his return to Everton from Manchester United to give the Merseysiders a 1-0 victory at home to Stoke City. It was his 199th Premier League goal and first for Everton since 2004.
“To score at Goodison on my first game back in the Premier League, it doesn’t get much better,” he said.
Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi, on loan to West Bromwich Albion from Al Ahly, scored on his debut in the 1-0 win at home to Bournemouth.
There were no goals on the south coast between Southampton and Swansea City. That meant the Saints have not scored at home in their last six games.