Newcastle said last week that Hatem Ben Arfa had been given compassionate leave to visit his grandparents in Tunisia.
Hatem Ben Arfa – due back this week in Newcastle
Ben Arfa was due to arrive back at Newcastle last Monday, before being given the compassionate leave, so we would expect some news on the French International shortly, as he gets back to life and training on Tyneside early this week.
We’re not too sure when Ben Arfa will be fully fit to return, but the news is that he’s made an excellent recovery from the double fracture of his left leg, he received in early October at Eastlands, and is in fantastic physical shape.
Newcastle have only 2 games in April, on the 5th at home to Everton and on the 18th at Stoke City, and every remaining game is on a Saturday except the final game of the season on Sunday 22nd May, when all games kick off at the same time 4:00pm, and we entertain WBA.
Indeed we still have to play Wolves, WBA and Birmingham at home, all potential relegation sides with poor away records, so that’s a possible 9 points right there.
After the next 3 games, Bolton and Everton at home and Stoke away, the 4th game is not until April 2nd, when we entertain Wolves, and we have 8 league games remaining including that one.
So that’s good news for Newcastle, because most of our injured players (Ben Arfa, Ireland, Ameobi and the two Taylors) should be fit by late March, some quite easily, and Pardew can pick almost the strongest side for all but the next three league games.
That sounds very good to us, and a chance to rise in the league table too.