Newcastle United defender Massadio Haidara has rubbished the idea that Newcastle were overly physical against Arsenal last Saturday.

The home side picked up six bookings and a red card at St. James’ Park and, in truth, could have had more than that.

Moussa Sissoko was booked for a nasty stamp on Nacho Monreal shortly before Aleksandar Mitrović was dismissed for a similar, but even more cynical and undeniably deliberate, challenge on Francis Coquelin.

This treatment continued with Jack Colback and Florian Thauvin both booked for challenges, yet defender Haidara has defended his team-mates.

“We are a team that play fairly,” the defender baffling said, despite the game offering very clear evidence to the contrary. “We don’t make rash challenges, so to get six yellows and a red in one game was strange.”

The red card to Mitrović was particularly damaging. With their striker off the field, Newcastle camped on their own box and effectively had no chance of winning a game which saw them play with ten men for almost 75 minutes.

“It was important for us because it was so early in the game. I was quite far away and I didn’t see it very well,” Haidara admitted. “For me, a red card was too much. It killed the game.

“And you know against a team like Arsenal it is very hard to have a man less. But we can’t do nothing about it now.

“The player (Francis Coquelin) was on the pitch for the rest of the game so it couldn’t have been too hard.”

Well this is just crazy ‘logic’. If a tackle doesn’t injure a player to the extent he can’t continue playing it isn’t worthy of a red card? Regardless of intent or how dangerous it was? What nonsense.

Haidara has lost it. A tackle which sees a player scrape his studs down the leg of an opponent before stamping on the his foot is most definitely a sending off. It did indeed make the game difficult for Newcastle, that is nobody’s fault but their own.