Manchester - Arsenal new boy Gervinho was sent
off as the Gunners prepared for life without Cesc Fabregas and Samir
Nasri with a lacklustre season-opening 0-0 draw at Newcastle on
Ivorian striker Gervinho, signed for 10 million from
French champions Lille in July, was given his marching orders after
raising his hands in an ugly confrontation with Newcastle midfielder
Joey Barton on 76 minutes.
While the flashpoint will grab the
headlines, it could not mask an uninspired display by Arsenal, who
seemed bereft of ideas in the absence of Fabregas and Nasri, who were
both absent pending their likely departure from the club.
is expected to be unveiled as a Barcelona player next week, while
France international Nasri is poised to join Manchester City.
creative skills of both men were sorely missed by Arsenal, who struggled
to create anything even remotely resembling a scoring chance.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger attempted to put a brave face on the performance.
lacked a bit of accuracy with the final ball but overall we had a solid
performance," said Wenger, who said he may appeal Gervinho's dismissal.
think Gervinho didn't deserve a red card," Wenger told ESPN. "I'm 100
percent sure the referee didn't see the incident. I would like to see
who made the decision."
Earlier Liverpool's hopes of launching
their Premier League season with a win ended in disappointment as the
new-look Reds drew 1-1 against Sunderland.
Liverpool, who have
spent more than 100 million on rebuilding their squad since the turn of
the year, looked to be on course for all three points after Luis Suarez
headed them 1-0 up at Anfield after 12 minutes.
came after the Uruguayan international had missed a penalty on three
minutes after Sunderland midfielder Kieran Richardson controversially
escaped a red card for his foul on the South American forward.
as the game wore on, Liverpool faded -- with 20 million signing Jordan
Henderson particularly disappointing -- and Swedish international
Sebastian Larsson levelled for the visitors with a spectacular volley on
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish had few complaints
with the result but questioned referee Phil Dowd's failure to send off
Richardson in the penalty incident with Suarez.
"Sunderland made it difficult for us, they worked really hard and I think they deserved a point," he said.
Dalglish was unhappy at Dowd's decision to only caution Richardson after he had brought down Suarez when clean through.
don't want to see anybody sent off, but we need to know where we stand
and how they (referees) are going to implement the rules and the wording
of them in the books," he said.
In other games on Saturday,
Bolton gave newly promoted QPR a brutal introduction to life in the top
flight with a 4-0 mauling at Loftus Road.
Gary Cahill curled in a
25-yard effort to put Bolton 1-0 up before a second-half own-goal from
Rangers' Danny Gabbidon doubled the visitors' advantage.
Late goals from Ivan Klasnic and Fabrice Muamba completed the rout before Clint Hill was sent off for the home side late on.
there was better news for another of the newly promoted Championship
teams as Norwich earned a point with a 1-1 draw at Wigan.
Wigan took the lead with a Ben Watson penalty on 21 minutes after Ritchie de Laet brought down Franco di Santo.
got back on level terms on the stroke of half-time when a dreadful
blunder by Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi allowed Wes Hoolahan to rifle in
from eight yards.
At Ewood Park, Wolves came from behind to defeat Blackburn 2-1.
took the lead through a goal by debutant Mauro Formica on 20 minutes
before Wolves levelled through a Steven Fletcher header moments later.
went ahead two minutes after the restart through Stephen Ward,
volleying in on 47 minutes in the immediate aftermath of a missed
penalty from Kevin Doyle.
In Saturday's other early game, Fulham and Aston Villa ground out a 0-0 stalemate at Craven Cottage.
Manchester United launch their season at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday
while Chelsea travel to Stoke. Manchester City kick-off their season at
home to Swansea on Monday.