Hatem Ben Arfa was our Man of the Match on Saturday, and has so far received 61% of the vote, beating out Cheick Tiote, who also received his first start for Newcastle, who has 20% of the vote.
Ben Arfa – great display on Saturday
And today Ben Arfa has talked what really es a fantastic debut for Newcastle, as he said:
“It was a bit of a dream debut, I just looked up and shot really,” “It was a very important win because after losing to Blackpool, the pressure on us was enormous.”
“It was building up inside our heads. And so we are very relieved and happy to have won.”
“Losing to Blackpool was something we didn’t expect. We knew Everton would be very hard and to have won here tells you something about what we can achieve.”
Ben Arfa repleaced Jonas Gutierrez on the left wing, but seemed to be given a free role and turned up all over the field.
And when he scored his goal he was to the right of midfield 35 yards from goal before he beat an Everton player and amazingly rifled the ball into the back of the net, for a wonder strike. It wasn’t even a chance and that goal will remain in our memory forever.
Ben Arfa impressed everybody in the first full Newcastle appearance of a season-long loan from Marseilles. which will become permanent if he makes 25 appearances.
The 23 year-old will be big draw and will help fill St. James’ Park to capacity again, but he will also be a draw on the road if he keeps playing like he did Saturday, when Newcastle looked a very good side.
With more appearances like this though, some of the big clubs in the Premier League will take notice, but it seems after 25 appearances he can become a Newcastle player – permanently.
Ben Arfa talked about leaving Marseilles in the summer:
“Sometimes in football you have to take a risk,” “I knew about Newcastle and when I came there for the first time, you could see how big it was. It may have been newly-promoted but it didn’t feel like it because there are so many good players at the club – and you could see that on Saturday.”
“We should be ambitious but we also have to be calm and remember it’s pretty early in the season. There is plenty of character in this team so we’ll see how far we can take it.” “Newcastle are a big, big club with some really astonishing supporters.”
“When I came here, I wondered what I would find but I am surrounded by some really good players, who will take us far.” “It is exactly the sort of club that I left behind in Marseilles.”
“They have the same passion among the supporters, the same sense that the club dominates everything in the city. It is a great thing when you play in front of passionate fans.”
“You want to give them something back, you want to play for them, do your best for them. I am very, very happy that they saw us win and that I scored for them.”
We think the feeling is mutual and there’s no doubt Ben Arfa has revitalized the Newcastle fans, as we now have a player who has amazing skills and has given Newcastle the flair and creativity they lacked.
But this lad also works hard and is willing to fight for the team, and we were impressed with his concentration on Saturday.
Fans are comparing him with Laurent Robert, but Robert never wanted to defend, he only wanted to move forward, but it seems to us the work-rate of Ben Arfa is so much greater than it ever was with Laurent.
In short, Ben Arfa looks a cracking little player, and Chris Hughton was right during the summer to use those words to describe this lad, but we’re also impressed that he seems a team player also, and talks about the team, and we just have to hope that he falls in love even more with the Newcastle United club.
Ben Arfa could become one of the Newcastle club’s best buys ever – he’s that good.