Arsenal’s new signing Gervinho was sent off against Newcastle United Saturday after slapping Joey Barton in the face.
The incident happened late in the second half after Gervinho ran into the box but simulated a dive as he tried to win his side a penalty. Referee Peter Walton didn’t think it was a foul. But Joey Barton, incensed by Gervinho’s dive, took the matter into his own hands by picking Gervinho up by his shirt as both men pushed each other. However Gervinho then slapped Barton in the face. The Newcastle United midfielder fell to the floor, and referee Walton had no choice but to send the Ivorian striker off.
Barton meanwhile was given a yellow card.
Earlier in the game there was another flashpoint when Alex Song got tangled up after a fifty-fifty challenge with Barton. However, Song deliberately stamped on Barton’s leg, but the referee and fourth official missed the incident.
While Song should have been red carded, the question is whether referee Walton was correct in awarding Barton a yellow card or whether a red card should have been shown instead. The yellow card that Barton received was completely justified but a red card would have been more appropriate for the physical way that Barton took the law into his own hands. If Gervinho hadn’t slapped Barton, he could have escaped with no punishment at all. But the Ivorian striker learned a valuable lesson that retaliation like that will not be tolerated in the Premier League.
If I was the referee, I would have sent both Gervinho and Barton off. The English midfielder escaped with a yellow card, but the punishment should have been much more severe. Gervinho was justly red carded for hitting Barton in the face.
If you recall, Joey Barton was also involved in a controversial incident against Arsenal when in just three minutes of a game in 2008, he made a bone-crunching tackle against Samir Nasri.
Today’s match between Newcastle United and Arsenal ended in a nil-nil draw.
What do you think? Should Joey Barton have been red carded? Was the referee correct in his decision to send Gervinho off? Share your opinion in the comments section below.