Newcastle United and Arsenal played out an awful 0-0 draw at St. James’ Park, with the only entertainment coming courtesy of a contre-temps between Joey Barton and Gervinho, the latter being sent off on his Arsenal debut for delivering a tame slap to the former.
It had been a poor game from the start, with Arsenal suffering from characteristic overcomplication and indecision around the box, and Newcastle unable to gain a foothold in the game. With few clear chances being created at either end, such a result was always likely to occur.
Robin Van Persie was some way short of his best, able to provide neither the clinical finishing nor creative spark that the game sorely demanded, with Gervinho also lively but wasteful.
Newcastle, on the other hand, simply never turned up in a poor game that will do little to calm the mood at either club. Koscielny and Steven Taylor were the standout performers as neither side were able to make any headway towards breaking the deadlock.
Gervinho will now miss Arsenal’s next 3 games – including ones against Liverpool and Manchester United. There may be further repercussions, however, for Alex Song – guilty of a stamp on Barton in the first half, and Barton himself, whose aggro kicked off the scrap that resulted in Gervinho’s red card.