Chelsea star Cesc Fabregas has come under fire for a recent stunt that has seen him branded as a ‘cheat’.
The Spanish midfielder produced a bizarre act in his club’s 0-0 draw with Everton at the weekend, which was clearly broadcast to all watching the match unfold.
Chelsea were awarded a free kick by referee Kevin Friend at a crucial juncture in the match, marked clearly by the ‘invisible spray’ used in football since 2014.
But while the referee’s back was turned, Fabregas proceed to pick up the spray and move it forward a yard or more in a cheeky attempt to gain an advantage.
The 31-year-old then picked up the ball and plopped it to his newly created position, clearly marked by the spray, without any consequences whatsoever.
Despite nothing coming of the free-kick, one eagle-eyed viewer’s tweet quickly went viral – labelling it as a “petty form of cheating”:
Referee sprays grass. Fabregas PICKS UP SPRAY and places it further forward to gain a yard at a free kick. Have you ever seen a more petty form of cheating? Desperate, cynical club. @ChelseaFC @premierleague @SkySports pic.twitter.com/AV9nQyl0yT
— North Bank Nadim (@NorthBankNadim) November 11, 2018
Maurizio Sarri’s side recovered from a poor first half performance and laid siege to the Everton goal after the break, but found Jordan Pickford unbeatable as the England keeper made a series of fine saves.
The stalemate at Stamford Bridge left Chelsea two points behind Liverpool, who beat Fulham earlier on Sunday, with Manchester City having a chance to pull clear of the Blues against Manchester United later in the day.
It was a frustrating afternoon for Chelsea, who extended their unbeaten start under Sarri to 18 games in all competitions but couldn’t make their territorial dominance count.
“I didn’t like the first 25 minutes. We moved the ball very slow, so it was impossible for us to be dangerous,” Sarri said.
“I’m not happy of course. I don’t know why we start slowly. It’s a good question. I don’t think it’s a physical problem.
“In the second half we played with more speed and intensity. So maybe it is a mental problem.
“We might have some difficulties to approach the match from a mental point of view. It’s difficult to answer.”