It's not surprising that Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton was involved in a flare up.

However, the temperamental winger may have outdone himself on Saturday in the season opener scoreless draw against Arsenal at St. James' Park.

Barton appeared to have sunk to a new level in the second half after Arsenal winger Gervinho went down in the box. As Gervinho took a moment on the pitch, Barton made an unprovoked move to lift up Gervinho in an aggressive manner with an interest in teaching Gervinho a lesson for a supposed dive. Gervinho, to his credit, made no effort to appeal for a foul.

To make matters worse, Barton took a retaliatory slap from Gervinho, and proceeded to fall to the ground like he was struck with a heavyweight punch. The acting job worked, as Gervinho received a red card in his Arsenal debut. Barton only received a yellow for the incident.

There was some build up to the skirmish. Barton made a harsh foul on Alex Song, and Song responded by taking an intentional step near Barton's calf. No yellow card was issued to Song.

Barton, who was rumoured to be linked to an Arsenal transfer, may have also hurt his chances of landing with Chelsea. Barton was expected to depart from Newcastle this season.

Minutes after the incident with Gervinho, Barton and Song gave each other a hug. Barton was all smiles after the final whistle.