Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barton Arrested; More Woe for City as Police Quiz Midfielder before Chelsea Clash

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Barton Arrested; More Woe for City as Police Quiz Midfielder before Chelsea Clash

Article excerpt

Byline: LEO SPALL

MANCHESTER CITY were plunged into an even deeper crisis today as their England midfielder Joey Barton was arrested on suspicion of assault and criminal damage.

Chelsea travel to Eastlands tomorrow night and will be facing a team in disarray as the champions attempt to close the nine-point gap on leaders Manchester United in the Premiership.

Beaten in their last five matches, including Sunday's FA Cup defeat at Blackburn, City manager Stuart Pearce looks a certainty for the sack.

Barton, 24, has deepened the gloom after he was questioned by police over an alleged argument with a taxi driver in Liverpool. It is understood the incident took place in the Wavertree area of the city earlier this month.

A spokeswoman for Merseyside police said: "I can confirm a 24-year-old man from Widnes was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and assault.

He has been bailed until May pending further inquiries."

Barton, who made his England debut against Spain, was subjected to abuse from a minority of City fans at Ewood Park after the 2-0 FA Cup defeat. He threw his shirt into the crowd and then appeared to be preparing to drop his shorts.

He has already been fined [pounds sterling]2,000 by the FA after baring his bottom at Everton fans in October. In February, Portsmouth fans complained after Barton allegedly made an obscene gesture towards them during a match at Fratton Park.

Previously, he was sent home from a pre- season tour of Thailand after becoming involved in a brawl with a schoolboy Everton fan.

He was also fined six weeks' wages by his club after attacking a young City player at a club Christmas party.

Barton is still free to play for England in the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Andorra because he has not been charged.

The news about City will be just the boost that Jose Mourinho needs ahead of tomorrow's match with problems of his own to address at Stamford Bridge. …

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