Cesc Fabregas achieved one of the most bizarre red cards in Premier League history on Monday when he was sent off for kicking the ball at an opponent’s head in full view of the referee. Chelsea were trailing West Brom 1-0 at the Hawthorns when a melee started in the home side’s penalty area after Chelsea striker Diego Costa appeared to strike out at West Brom defender Gareth McAuley. While referee Mike Jones was tending to that incident, Fabregas struck the ball from the other side of the box into the the crowd of players and right into the head of Chris Brunt. The referee, just a foot or so away, had no hesitation in marching over to the Spanish midfielder and delivering a red card.
A defeat for Chelsea would cost them little, with the London club having already secured the Premier League title two weeks ago. However, manager Jose Mourinho will have been looking for his side to win their remaining two matches in order to become one of the few sides to reach the 90 point mark. Fabregas’ dismissal means he earns a three-game suspension and thus will miss the start of next season.
Following his arrival from Barcelona last summer, the 28-year-old has been one of Chelsea’s leading performers, particularly in the first half of the season. And his 18 assists in the Premier League this season is the most of any player.
In truth, though. for both teams, Monday’s encounter had little significance. Chelsea went into the match eight points clear of Manchester City in the standings, while West Brom were in 13th and having already secured Premier League survival for another season. Tony Pulis' side stunned Chelsea when young English striker Saido Berahino curled a fine strike past Thibaut Courtois in the 9th minute. And Fabregas' sending off left Chelsea facing an uphill task heading into the second half.