Friday, August 19, 2011

Song stomps on Barton, Barton gets Gervinho sent off

Joey Barton livened up an otherwise drab scoreless draw between Arsenal and Newcastle by dropping his bookish hipster act and reverting to his old ways as a short-tempered instigator. But before that it seemed like he really had changed.

When Alex Song, who was already on a yellow, stomped on his calf in the 59th minute after the two tussled for the ball and the officials didn't see it (video here), Barton didn't react with the ultraviolence we've come to expect from him. Instead, he plead his case and moved on. It seemed he really might have taken to heart those Dalai Lama and Nietzsche quotes he likes to retweet, but really, his fuse was lit.

And when Gervinho went down in the box far too easily 15 minutes later, Barton snapped (video here)...

He rushed over and yanked the Ivorian to his feet...

The two grappled and as other players tried to intervene, Gervinho slapped Barton...

And Joey responded with all the drama of his favorite Smiths song by falling over as if hit with the force of a blow from Joey Barton...

Barton pretends his haircut was wounded...

And finally, Gervinho gets sent off in his Premier League debut, while Barton gets away with a yellow. You could say it evened things out after the Song incident. You could also say Gervinho deserved his red for the combination of perhaps going down too easy and raising his hand to Barton, no matter how soft a slap it was. Regardless of all that, one thing is for sure -- Joey Barton still has his magnetic attraction to confrontation.

UPDATE: Barton has offered his inevitable Twitter reaction. In a series of tweets, he said:

"maybe I shouldnt of got involved but diving and trying to win a penalty, is sh*t. Needs stamping out (No pun)

"What do people want me to do, stand and trade blows with Gervinho. If u raise ur hands to players faces, u should beoff. Ref got it right...

"Imagine if id of stamped on Song, all the numptys would be out calling for a public execution. What cos its on me its alright? #hypocrites.

"hate CHEATS that dive to win pens. If theres contact go down but dont blatantly try to con the ref. Refs have it hard enough

"cant raise ur hands, end of. What do i have to gain by standing and trading with him. NOWT."

"If i stayed up or went down its not relevant, raises his hands off. I was merely highlighting he struck me. Song stamped should of been seen

"I went down easy, no doubt. Still cant raise ur hands."

He was merely highlighting that Gervinho stuck him! He wasn't trying to influence the referee's decision, he was just providing a helpful spotlight!

Funny how he thinks diving to win a penalty needs stamping out and players can't raise their hands, but pulling an opponent off the ground and grappling with him are apparently just fine. Still, I give him credit for explaining his side of things in a public forum. How cool would it be if more footballers did that?

Photos: Getty, Reuters


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