Pardew stands by Barton
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was quick to defend Joey Barton after seeing his side pull off an astonishing fightback from four goals down to draw 4-4 at St Jsames' Park.The Gunners wasted an opportunity to pile pressure on Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United, despite going 3-0 up at St James' Park within 10 minutes and scoring a fourth 16 minutes later.However, after midfielder Abou Diaby had been sent off three minutes after the restart for pushing Barton to the ground following a rugged challenge, they crumbled and shipped four goals inside 19 bewildering minutes, the last of them Cheik Tiote's stunning 87th-minute equaliser.Wenger, who was also critical of the two penalties awarded by referee Phil Dowd, said: "It was a completely unnecessary sending-off, and I believe Barton was very lucky to stay on the pitch for the tackle on Diaby."But Pardew said: "You have got to make a challenge. It was a proper, honest challenge - I have seen it two or three times and there's nothing wrong with it."He goes for the ball, he wins the ball clean. He is aggressive in the challenge, he takes a little bit of the player after he has won the ball."
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