Joey Barton claims Gervinho scuffle stopped Arsenal move

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Joey Barton has claimed he nearly joined Arsenal this summer ahead of Queens Park Rangers’ clash with Aston Villa this Saturday.

QPR head into the game as 11/8 favourites and look good value when you consider the Hoops haven’t so much as conceded a goal when Barton has been on the pitch this season.

It could have been very different though.

If Barton hadn’t had a scrap with Arsenal winger Gervinho during their goalless draw on the opening day of the season he could well be turning out for Arsene Wenger’s struggling side instead of the Hoops.

“If I hadn’t played against Arsenal on the first day, I may have signed for them,” said Barton to BBC Sport.

“There were a couple of conversations with Wenger but that’s different to actually signing.

“The Gervinho incident happened and there’s nothing I can do about it now.

“If it happened again, I’d like to think I’d deal with it differently. Things happen for a reason and there’s a lesson to be learned from it.

“Right now, we sit above Arsenal in the table – hopefully that’s the case in May.”

If QPR continue their current good form against Villa this Saturday then they should definitely stay above Arsenal for at least one more week.

It’s the first meeting between Villa and QPR in the top flight since 1996 when Villa ran out 4-2 winners.

Villa are without a win since their 3-1 victory against Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park back in August and have drawn their previous three games.

Backing QPR – who come into this game on the back of a 3-0 win against Wolves – at 11/8 looks well worth a punt, while Barton can be backed at 3/1 to score at any time.

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