Whatever you think of Joey Barton and whether he should have received a red card in the crazy 4-4 draw between Newcastle and Arsenal yesterday, there is no doubt that he was one of the main protagonists in a memorable game.
The former Manchester City midfielder was at the heart of the sending off of Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby and also chipped in with two penalties as the Toon Army became the first Premier League team to come back from 4-0 down.
First off, it is important to note that Joey Barton has previous against Arsenal earlier this season. After coming on as a late sub in the 4-0 Carling Cup defeat the Newcastle midfielder produced some shocking tackles.
The flashpoint with Abou Diaby yesterday started at the end of the first half. Barton went in hard on Arshavin, with a free-kick not given Abou Diaby exacted his own retribution. Phil Dowd did not book either player. Video here.
Then came the sending off, and whilst Abou Diaby reacted badly, Joey Barton’s tackle on Diaby was horrific. Dowd didn’t even book Barton when it looks like a yellow at a minimum.
In his defence, Barton did take two excellent penalties under pressure to set up the comeback but the overriding feeling is that the Newcastle midfielder was lucky not to last the full 90 minutes.
Related video link: Highlights of Newcastle 4 – Arsenal 4.