On an exciting day of Premier League action, perhaps the most one-sided game has been the fixture between Newcastle United and Arsenal. With the Gunners leading 4-0 at the end of the first half, little was expected from the hosts at St. James’ Park following the interval.
However, the second period has already began on a positive note for the Magpies. In a brawl that was initiated by a strong tackle from Joey Barton, the recipient Abou Diaby got much more than the challenge itself as he ended up being sent off for pushing two Newcastle players.
Although one can certainly make a case that Diaby could have been let go with a booking, the Frenchman’s temperament was far from professional. When he pushed Barton down to the turf immediately after the tackle, the controversial Toon midfielder stayed down without retaliating.
As Kevin Nolan arrived on the scene to confront Diaby, the Gunners midfielder put his hands on the Newcastle skipper as well, leaving the officials with little room for any other interpretation than punishing him.
A few minutes later, Barton stepped up to convert a penalty as the hosts cut the deficit down to three goals. Arsene Wenger didn’t look all that bothered, though, as his side is moments away from going within two points of leaders Manchester United.
Elsewhere, the Gunners’ North London rivals Tottenham just conceded an equalizer to Bolton after Rafael Van der Vaart missed one of his two penalties earlier in the match.
Arsenal’s title rivals Manchester City, on the other hand, are nowhere near level at the Eastlands as Carlos Tevez has scored a hat-trick against West Bromwich to keep their hopes alive.
Despite writing off his side in the title race, Tevez – unlike Van der Vaart – converted both his penalties to give Roberto Mancini’s men a nearly unassailable 3-0 lead against the Baggies.
Update: After this article was published, Leon Best scored from a header to bring Newcastle within two goals at 4-2. Another Joey Barton penalty as well as an incredible volley from Ismael Chiek Tiote led to a historic 4-4 draw when all was said and done.