Newcastle take a point from their opening Premier League fixture against Arsenal at St James’ Park and the main talking point wasn’t the football, but midfielder Joey Barton. There’s something about Barton v Arsenal and he was involved in a couple of incidents again today and didn’t exactly come out smelling of roses.
It was something of a shock to see Barton lining up today after him being transfer listed at the start of the month, but it was a boost to have him in the starting eleven. Ryan Taylor also got a start at left back, while Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye made their competitive Newcastle debuts.
As far as the game is concerned, the first half was pretty poor and Newcastle struggled to get hold of the ball, as you might expect. They were slightly brighter in the second half, but failed to really create any chances, while at the other end Arsenal didn’t look particularly threatening either.
So the game ended goalless, but that’s far from the end of the story. First of all Alex got away with a stamp on Barton, after which Joey was rightly furious. Then later in the second half Gervinho dived in the box in attempt to win a penalty, and that’s when the trouble really started.
Barton grabbed hold of Gervinho’s shirt and dragged the Ivorian up from the floor. Then there were the usual handbags, before Gervinho appeared to slap Barton. There defintely wasn’t much force behind the blow, but Joey went to the floor as though he’d be punched and the Arsenal forward was shown a red card.
Joey Barton clearly made of meal of it and didn’t show himself in the best light. Once again he’s making the headlines for the wrong reason and you have to ask, what was he up to? Is he really worth the trouble? Either way, Newcastle take a point in what was a match to forget.
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