NEW signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas made an instant impact for Chelsea as they launched their Premier League title bid with a confident 3-1 win at promoted Burnley last night.
SCORERS: Burnley - Arfield (14); Chelsea - Costa (17), Schurrle (21), Ivanovic (34)
Belgian international goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was preferred to Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal and, in a fiery atmosphere, he was beaten in the 14th minute when the home side took a surprise lead.
The goal was a superb drive by former Falkirk midfielder Scott Arfield after a fine pull back by Matt Taylor.
But Chelsea quickly got back on level terms, three minutes later, with Brazilian-born Spain international Costa, a close-season signing from Atletico Madrid, scoring on his Premier League debut, firing in after a Branislav Ivanovic cross-shot had come out off the post.
Within four minutes, Jose Mourinho’s side had the lead, Fabregas providing a beautiful first-time pass to German World Cup winner Andre Schurrle, who confidently drove home.
Burnley looked shell-shocked and their manager Sean Dyche will be disappointed with the defending for Chelsea’s third as Ivanovic was unchallenged when he slotted in a Fabregas corner in the 34th minute.
Mourinho predicted Cech would provide stiff competition for Courtois after the Belgian won the first battle for the Chelsea goalkeeping gloves.
After the 22-year-old, who has spent the past three years on loan to Atletico Madrid, got the nod to start, Mourinho said his decision was reached after considering “the future of the club”, an indication that Courtois stands to stay in the side providing he avoids any major errors.
But Cech has scarcely let down Chelsea in a decade as first-choice goalkeeper, so Mourinho has no doubt he will keep the player a decade his junior on his toes. Mourinho said: “Thibaut Courtois is my number one tonight against Burnley.
“I don’t make decisions for the season, I make decisions for a match.
“Obviously a goalkeeper is not the kind of player you change match after match, you must give a bit of stability, but this is about performances so Thibaut has to know that having a goalkeeper of Petr’s level sitting on the bench, it means from him (we want a) high level of performances.
“Ten years ago I also had a very difficult decision to make when we had (Carlo) Cudicini giving fantastic performances in Chelsea’s goal for many years. I had a 22-year-old goalkeeper I thought could be in Chelsea’s goals for years and years and years and this situation is similar.”
While Cech has lived up to Mourinho’s expectations, he is waiting to learn how Courtois copes.
Mourinho added: “Petr is an amazing goalkeeper and the difference between them is ten years, and we have to think about the future of the club and I made the decision to give the goal to Courtois.
“But I’m so comfortable and feel so safe by having these two goalkeepers with us.
“Petr is a fantastic professional. He only knew my decision this morning. He fought hard for his place in pre-season.
“Obviously he’s ready to play. How does he behave? In a professional way, which is what we expect from him.
“I hope that he’ll fight for his place and he will not sit in a comfortable chair and accept the position. He’s a winner and he’s a fighter and he will fight for his place.”