W were impressed with Ben Arfa On Saturday for a number of reasons.
Ben Arfa – wiggling through on Saturday – he hit the post!
The mercurial Frenchman made his first league start of the season against Manchester City, with the last start being in the same fixture last season, and we all know what happened there in the early minutes.
We were surprised how Ben Arfa worked his socks off on Saturday, and although he gave away a penalty in the second half, it showed how he was getting back to help out the defense.
And Ben Arfa rather easily won our Man of the Match poll with a good 44% of the vote, with over 750 votes in, and the Frenchman looked like he’s not lost much of his form or pace since his terrible broken leg over a year ago.
Alan Pardew showed his courage in selection, by handing Ben Arfa a start at the Eithad, although Alan talked with Ben Arfa to make sure he was okay with that, and of course he was, and played really well.
The lad deserves enormous credit for the way he’s come back into the side, and we expect him to keep his place for the tough game at Old Trafford on Saturday – and maybe we’ll even see a goal from him in that game.
Alan Pardew was just delighted with the way Ben Arfa played on Saturday, and that his work rate was so high:
“Hatem did some great stuff up front for us, but look at his work at the other end. There is no problem with that,” “He works really really hard.”
“Hopefully he can take us forward. Actually coming out of this game, and when we get everyone back, we could be a stronger side.”
“We were without four at City, but my squad is definitely deeper than last year, without a shadow of doubt,” “We are strong enough to cope with a strong season and that is what we hope to have.”
“We can take confidence that we were level for 40 minutes and then matched them in the second half.” “You could see in the dressing room there is genuine belief .”
“In the second half, we were hunting for that next goal, we knew it would be crucial and if we had got it, it could have been very different.”
The conventional wisdom seems to be hat Newcastle performed very well on Saturday, and if any one of four or five chances had been converted, it would have been a very different game.
At 2-0 Ben Arfa hit the post after a skillful run into the box, and young Danny Guthrie brought an England class save out of Joe Hart, so Newcastle were in no way over-awed in that second half, and were unlucky not to have scored more than one goal.
But the lads will now take that good performance at the Etihad into the Old Trafford game on Saturday, and with any luck, the lads could do a lot better than last week.
And Ben Arfa could be the player to unlock the Manchester United defense, as he seems to be returning to his best form, which is great news for Newcastle fans.
A draw would be an excellent result, and a win would be unbelievable.