Will Hughton Deploy Ben Arfa As A Striker?

Chris Hughton’s major concern in the summer was to get in an experienced goal-scorer into the club.

Ben Arfa – will Chris use him as a striker?

But he wasn’t able to so that, but the lads this season seem to be able to create chances at will, and put most of those chances away – although it’s true that against Blackpool we didn’t, and paid a heavy price with an embarrassing loss.

Newcastle have played 5 league games and 2 cup games this season so far, and have 4 wins, 2 defeats and a draw, so that’s a decent start to the season after being pummeled at Old Trafford in that first game.

In the league we’ve scored only 8 goals,  with 6 of them coming in a single game, so we could do with more goals in the league, for sure, but we’ve hit 7 goals in the Carling Cup in just two games – both away from home.

If Shola Ameobi can keep up the form he showed on Wednesday night,  then maybe Chris doesn’t need to bring in another striker, but if Newcastle keep up this good form,  we feel sure that Mike Ashley will back Chris with whatever he wants to do in the January transfer window – because we are also building the team for the future, and not just thinking of one season.

And young Nile Ranger looked to be decent form as well at Chelsea, but the lad still has a lot to learn, and will do so, if he keeps his head down and listens to what Chris tells him he needs to do.

One thing is that Nile needs to score more goals, and after his goal on Wednesday night he missed a sitter right in front of goal a few minutes later, when it looked easier to score than to completely mis-kick the ball – which is what he did.

But there will be games this season, like at home to Aston Villa, when Newcastle hammer a side, because they will convert most of their chances.  It could have happened on Wednesday night, when two of our best chances – to Lovenkrands and Ameobi – came when the lads were winning 3-1 in the second half.

As far as strikers go we could also use Ben Arfa as a striker, and the way he hit that 30 yard effort against Everton,  you would think,  from say 15 yards out, it would be easy for him to hit them home. What an exciting player this lad looks – and he’s been blessed with amazing football skills, that’s for sure.

Chris is working on the training field as to how best to fit Ben Arfa into Newcastle’s way of playing, but he’s already said that Newcastle will use him where he can hurt the opposition the most – in the last third of the pitch.

The Frenchman may be best utilized in the Kevin Nolan position as a withdrawn striker, the role the great Bobby Charlton used to play eons ago for England and Manchester United.

But of course the lad can also set up chances and he has vowed to set those up for big Andy Carroll, so his best position could still be on the left wing, but given a free role, as he seemed to be given last Saturday.

So looking at the form of Carroll, Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Nolan, Ranger and Ben Arfa, as our current strike force, we probably don’t need another striker in January.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

9 comments so far

  • G

    Sep 24, 2010 at 9:59 AM

    Comment #1

    To be honest, I have no doubt that at some point during the season HBA will be deployed as a striker, however, given our desperate shortage of creativity in midfield, his talents should be deployed there as a priority.

  • Reacher

    Sep 24, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #2

    To be honest, there were numerous occasions in the Everton game where Ben Arfa was adopting a more central position, drifting into space, making himself available, and taking on players when receiving the ball, and generally looking pretty dangerous when doing so.

    He can afford to do this because in Enrique, we have a left-back who isn’t afraid to get forward down that left flank and perform the job of a winger and whip some balls in the for the strikers.

    Now whether Chris would start Ben Arfa in that position, “in the hole” if you like, and drop Nolan in doing so, is perhaps unlikely. Nolan is our captain and an influential character, on and seemingly off the pitch.

  • Thump

    Sep 24, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #3

    The thing I loved about the Everton game is seeing the free play by our lads. HBA moved in, Barton moved out wide and the switches between Arthur and Routledge was something to behold.

  • michalsen

    Sep 24, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #4

    does anybody know if ben arfa speak any english?

  • geoff777

    Sep 24, 2010 at 4:26 PM

    Comment #5

    bien sûr Il est très courant … comme Google Translate … Ben Arfa est dans le jardin avec Jean-Pierre et Claudette

  • rwpoynter

    Sep 24, 2010 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #6

    michalsen 4
    Never mind if he can speak English! Can he speak geordie? A completely different language!

  • rwpoynter

    Sep 24, 2010 at 6:15 PM

    Comment #7

    “parlez-vous geordie Ben?”
    Ben Arfa.
    ” Oui! Howay the Lads, Aufweidersen Pet, When the boat comes in! Je ne comprend pas, maintenant c’est musique a mes oreilles!”

    ” Merde!” Il fait. Mon Dieu”
    (Sorry geoff777…just scraped a pass in ‘O’ Level French 1959)

  • Robby Bobson

    Sep 24, 2010 at 11:10 PM

    Comment #8

    He played as part of a front three and i think thats where he wll be played. Nolan dropped deeper and Ben arfa and routldge were told to play off carroll.

    Simple but so effective with the players we have as Tiote, nolan and barton all seem to enjoy bursting forward when necessary to help out as well.

  • baro

    Sep 25, 2010 at 1:56 AM

    Comment #9

    I hope he does see some striker role this season. He has the creativity, speed and excellent shot.


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