Ivory Coast's Gervinho off as Arsenal draw with Newcastle

Reuters, Saturday 13 Aug 2011

Arsenal made a controversial start to their Premier League campaign on Saturday as striker Gervinho was sent off on his debut in a scrappy 0-0 draw at Newcastle United

Arsenal striker Gervinho

Ivory Coast striker Gervinho appeared to go down easily in the area near the end of the game, prompting Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton to grab his shirt and pull him up.

Gervinho then slapped Barton, who fell over theatrically and was lucky his involvement in the scuffle did not earn him more than a yellow card at St James' Park.          

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger questioned whether the referee had even seen the incident and said both players should have received the same punishment.

"Gervinho didn't deserve a red card. He (referee Peter Walton) gives a red to the two or a yellow to the two," he told ESPN television.

"The referee has not seen it and the linesman has not seen it properly. I'm 100 percent sure the referee didn't see the incident. I would like to see who made this decision."

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