Newcastle manager Alan Pardew defended the actions of Joey Barton in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season.
Former Magpies target Gervinho's evening ended badly when he was sent off 14 minutes from time for aiming a blow at transfer-listed midfielder Barton.
The Newcastle man angrily confronted the Ivory Coast international after he had gone down under Cheick Tiote's challenge inside the box, intimating that he had dived.
In the resulting melee, the £10.5million forward lashed out and was dismissed by referee Peter Walton with Barton, who was also involved in the incident which saw Abou Diaby suffer a similar fate at St James' last season, receiving a yellow card for his role.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger thought Barton should also have been sent off, but opposite number Pardew had a different opinion.
The Newcastle boss said: "Firstly, Gervinho dived, I don't think there's any doubt about that, and that gets the blood boiling in any footballer, let alone Joey Barton.
"Then of course it turned into a tussle, but Joey never raised his hands or anything and the guy slapped him around the head.
"You can't do that. You know on a Sunday morning, you can't do that, so you ain't going to get away with it here, so I thought the referee probably got it right."
The unsavoury incident marred a hard-fought encounter in which the visitors failed to make the most of their dominance, with substitute Theo Walcott coming closest to finding a winner with a 64th minute shot which was saved by goalkeeper Tim Krul.
Newcastle might have snatched victory at the end had Laurent Koscielny not managed to get ahead of Peter Lovenkrands in front of goal, but that would have been harsh on the Gunners.