Viewers of the clash between Chelsea and West Brom this evening have taken to social media in their numbers to slate referee Lee Mason, after the official failed to even award a free-kick to Chelsea for Craig Dawson’s horror challenge on Davide Zappacosta.
The two sides are currently locked in action at Stamford Bridge, with Antonio Conte’s men desperate for all 3 points following a dismal run of form which saw the Blues fall to consecutive 3-goal defeats at the hands of Bournemouth and Watford.
Tonight’s result could prove particularly decisive regarding Antonio Conte’s future in the English capital, with widespread claims over the last week that a loss will see the Italian tactician sacked by Chelsea.
West Brom, meanwhile, have fallen to defeats in their last 2 Premier League outings, the latter of which came in hugely disappointing fashion at home to fellow strugglers Southampton.
Ahead of tonight, the Baggies sat rock bottom of the English top-flight table, a full 5 points behind 19th-placed Stoke City.
The lineups for tonight’s crucial matchup were announced an hour prior to kick-off, with a number of notable inclusions and absences for hosts Chelsea.
Andreas Christensen returned to the heart of the Blues’ defence following a spell on the sidelines, while Olivier Giroud earned his first start for the Premier League champions up front.
Cesc Fabregas was also included from the start, stepping in for the suspended Tiemoue Bakayoko, while Alvaro Morata was fit enough for a place on the Chelsea bench.
However, Marcos Alonso was a notable absentee, with the Spaniard having been a surprise late scratch from the Blues’ squad for their clash with Watford last week as a ‘precautionary measure’.
Team to face WBA: Courtois; Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rudiger; Moses, Kante, Fabregas, Zappacosta; Pedro, Giroud, Hazard.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2018
West Brom boss Alan Pardew, meanwhile, opted for the following, with Daniel Sturridge joining Salomon Rondon in a dangerous-looking forward line for the Baggies:
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) February 12, 2018
However, in a massive blow for the visitors with just 2 minutes on the clock, Danny Sturridge went to ground clutching his hamstring following an innocuous challenge from Cesar Azpilicueta, with the 28-year-old eventually succumbing to the problem and making his way down the Stamford Bridge tunnel with frustration etched across his face.
And there could very easily have been a second injury soon after, albeit this time for Chelsea, as Craig Dawson flew into an absolutely disgraceful challenge on Blues’ wing-back Davide Zappacosta in the 9th-minute.
As can be seen from the image above, Dawson completely missed the ball and connected high with his studs on the knee of Zappacosta in a tackle worthy of a red card and a 3-match ban.
However, referee Lee Mason and his officials somehow conspired to completely miss the incident, with Chelsea having not even been awarded a free-kick.
It should also be noted that Mason missed a huge shout for a West Brom penalty during the early moments of the clash, as Cesc Fabregas lunged into a dangerous challenge of his own in Chelsea’s box.
Unsurprisingly, viewers of tonight’s clash have since taken to Twitter in their numbers to slate Mason, with a roundup of the highlights below:
Lee mason yet again misses a defo red card dangerous foul on the Chelsea player just as he didn’t give joe Bennett a red card for the tackle on sane, this referee @FA just isn’t good enough to be officiating
— i wear the club shop (@progersmcfc) February 12, 2018
Of all the shite baldy refs, Lee Mason is the worst shite badly ref.
— Ste Hoare (@stehoare) February 12, 2018
Lee Mason missing red card challenges again?!
— Paul MCFC Johnston (@mothball69) February 12, 2018
Classic Lee Mason. A red card foul by Dawson isn’t even punished with a free kick.
— CLBrosnan93 (@CLBrosnan93) February 12, 2018
Yet another shocking challenge unpunished.
Lee Mason again I’m afraid, he needs an eye test .
— neil (@mancneil) February 12, 2018
Lmaooo Lee Mason is a fucking joke
— Avant Garde (@Ezxmuoh) February 12, 2018
Lee Mason is the worst ref in the league. And it’s not even close.
— Dirk (@DirkDigglerLFC) February 12, 2018
That’s the most West Bromesque tackle ever. Disgusting. No foul as well, Lee Mason you twat! 😓
— Sgt Otamendi (@SgtOtamendi) February 12, 2018
No foul according to Lee Mason. pic.twitter.com/Kp3BkV2ygC
— 🇧🇪 (@FlicksLikeEden) February 12, 2018
how did lee mason not give a red card for that challenge on zappacosta jeez
— AM (@itsmeitsmeandy) February 12, 2018
— Stew (@outseyuk) February 12, 2018
Good start for Lee Mason. Stone cold penalty and diabolical red card challenge missed.
— 1886Gunners (@Timbo_Slice1991) February 12, 2018