x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Nightmare went on for Newcastle's Barton

A burglar at night adds to midfielder's drama on the pitch where he went from victim to villain.

Newcastle's Joey Barton hauls Arsenal's Gervinho to his feet at the start of the scuffle.
Newcastle's Joey Barton hauls Arsenal's Gervinho to his feet at the start of the scuffle.

Joey Barton's eventful weekend did not end with a slap from Gervinho, the Arsenal debutant.

The Newcastle United midfielder, 28, found himself cast in the dual role of victim and villain in quick succession on the pitch, and then at the centre of a debate over his conduct during his side's 0-0 draw with the Gunners.

However, the drama was to continue overnight when he was roused from his post-match slumber by an intruder trying to break into a neighbour's house.

He tweeted: "5.26am was awoken by a banging sound, burglar attempting to break in to neighbour's house. Needless to say, he was disturbed and apprehended.

"He was so subtle, he attempted to put a massive log through the window in broad daylight. Police have him now 4th break in of the night #scum.

"What with the burglar and Arsenal game, it's been an incident-packed 24hrs."

Earlier, Barton had been involved in a number of rows on Twitter with journalists including Piers Morgan, the British journalist and television presenter, who is an Arsenal fan. He also had an exchange with Jack Wilshere over the sending-off of Gervinho.

Barton has rarely been far from controversy for too long during his career to date, and is currently at loggerheads with the Newcastle hierarchy after criticising their summer recruitment policy and being told he will not be offered a new contract.

Barton was involved in the incident which saw Arsenal midfielder Abou Diaby dismissed in the corresponding fixture last season, prompting a memorable collapse which saw the Gunners surrender a 4-0 half-time lead.

This time around, it was he who was initially in the firing line when Alex Song appeared to stamp on him following an uncompromising challenge.

However, if he was blameless on that occasion, it was his reaction to the game's major incident which sparked a untidy melee 15 minutes from time.

Barton angrily confronted Gervinho in the belief that he had dived in an attempt to win a penalty as he tried to skip past Cheik Tiote inside the penalty area. He hauled the Ivorian to his feet, and as Steven Taylor and a series of other players arrived on the scene, the Arsenal player slapped Barton.

Barton fell to the ground – he later admitted with a little too much ease – and Peter Walton, the referee, produced a red card for Gervinho and a yellow for the Newcastle midfielder.

Barton also had a lively Twitter debate with Robbie Savage, the former Welsh international midfielder-turned media pundit.

Savage tweeted Barton, saying: "You shouldn't of got involved and went down too easy."

But Barton went on the defensive, tweeting: "Maybe I shouldnt of got involved but diving and trying to win a penalty, is ... 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 be off. Ref got it right.

"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."