Big things are expected of Hatem Ben Arfa on Tyneside.
Ben Arfa – in action against Wigan last weekend
Ben Arfa didn’t have a good game on Wednesday night at Blackburn, especially in that first half, but Alan Pardew still thinks the French International can become a very big player for Newcastle.
But the Newcastle manager also thinks that too much is being expected too soon, from the 24 year-old.
It’s clear that young Davide Santon will need a little time to get used to the Premier League, and Ben Arfa will need time too, and he’s still made only 9 appearances for Newcastle so far, after suffering his terrible double leg fracture just over a year ago.
We don’t expect either Ben Arfa or Davide Santon to start on Monday night at Stoke, but both will be on the subs bench, and both could make an appearance in that game.
This is what Alan Pardew said about Ben Arfa:
“Perhaps too much is expected of Hatem,” “I didn’t think it was his best game at Blackburn, he’ll play a lot better than that.”
“It’s difficult as a striker to come in to the team and have an immediate impact, especially when you’ve been out for a long, long time. Possibly he’s trying too hard to make an impact.”
“With Hatem, it’s a question of being patient and above all him being patient, to make sure he gets himself right, because when he does he’ll be a fantastic player for us.”
The chances are that the Frenchman is trying too hard, but Ben Arfa, and the Newcastle fans too, will need to be a little patient.
The way forward for both Santon and Ben Arfa seems to be to get appearances from the subs bench, and allow them to find their feet, so to speak, in the Premier League.
But to criticize the two of them at this point seems harsh – give them time and they’ll both turn out to be great players for the club.
And one example of a player needing time was Jose Enrique, who we knew was a good player when he was signed from Villareal in the summer of 2007, but needed almost a full season to get to grips with the pace and physical nature of the Premier League.