FOR Antonio Conte and Chelsea it was the opening day from hell — and one that everyone looking in had feared was coming all summer.
Now, just one game into their title defence, they face a two-week spell that could define the entire season.
From the outside, Stamford Bridge has looked far from a happy camp for weeks and weeks now. We didn’t see anything on Saturday to disprove that.
Their performance in the first 45 minutes against Burnley — who were magnificent by the way, don’t forget that — was the Chelsea of two years ago under Jose Mourinho, when they packed it in.
The way they all capitulated after Gary Cahill’s sending-off was incredible.
All the negativity of the summer came out in that opening half.
It has left them the club in a position where they HAVE to buy.
Yes, you always want to sign players to improve what you have but Chelsea desperately need some new additions.
And I tell you what — when they do make a move for someone now, they will have to pay over the odds because everyone knows they are desperate.
The other potential problem is that manager Conte may have to gamble on someone he may otherwise not have brought in, simply because he needs to boost the numbers.
But you can’t say they haven’t got what they deserved. Not after seeing the business they have done over the past couple of months.
Conte said many times last season that he was light on players — and that was without the Champions League — but all they’ve really done is replace like for like.
Striker Alvaro Morata for Diego Costa, defensive midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko for Nemanja Matic and defender Antonio Rudiger for John Terry. You get the point.
But although I rate Bakayoko, he is injured at the moment and Matic was sold to a major rival in Manchester United. By all accounts Conte would not have sanctioned the deal, so that tells you something as well.
Morata joins for big money but is left on the bench for nearly an hour — that was a very strange one. When Morata replaced Michy Batshuayi just before the hour, Chelsea became a totally different team
We finally saw some of the energy, desire and urgency that was so lacking in the first half.
Now they find themselves under massive pressure already. It was as if the players thought they only needed to turn up to win. Talk about a rude awakening.
But as bad as the Premier League champions were, we must not lose sight of how magnificent Burnley performed.
No one gave them a prayer beforehand but they played Chelsea off the park.
Sean Dyche’s side were very, very good value for the points. There was certainly nothing lucky about it.
Chelsea didn’t have the monopoly on disappointing first days of the season, though, because Liverpool’s set-piece defending at Watford was just as embarrassing as last season.
If you’re going zonal, you need players who want to attack the ball — and they lacked any of them.
It was the same story last season but boss Jurgen Klopp has still not brought anyone in to solve the problem.
Southampton are still standing firm on not selling Virgil van Dijk to Liverpool but if they change their stance, you can bet the price went up £15-20million after Saturday!
What a contrast with Manchester City’s display at Brighton. While it wasn’t their best, you never thought it would end in anything other than three points for the visitors.
I looked at their bench, with Leroy Sane, Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling, and compared that with Chelsea’s.
That was a huge difference and the reason I think the battle is between the Manchester clubs this season.
I KNOW the table doesn’t mean anything just yet — but try telling that to Huddersfield supporters this morning.
I’m sure they went to Crystal Palace more in hope than expectation.
But they were great value for their 3-0 win and superior in every department.
Everyone played their part and they could actually have got a few more goals. Record signing Steve Mounie got two of them and at £11.5m looks a fantastic buy.
The striker scored 14 league goals for Montpellier last season — one less than Kylian Mbappe scored for Monaco.
When you consider he’s off to Paris Saint-Germain for over £150million, Mounie’s signing looks even better business.