Hatem Ben Arfa has started the last couple of games in Manchester, and played as a withdrawn striker, in place of the injured Leon Best.
Ben Arfa – in action Saturday
That has left Demba Ba up front to plough a lone furrow, but Ben Arfa has added some creativity to the side, and as he keeps getting closer to his best form, he should start to score a few goals.
If he doesn’t score then he can create some chances, and just look at what he’s done in these last couple of games.
At Manchester City, when Newcastle were 2-0 down in the second half, he dribbled his way past three Manchester City players in the inside-right channel, and then his right foot shot hit the upright and rebounded to safety.
It would have been so easy for the ball to have gone in, or a Newcastle player hit the rebound past Joe Hart into the net, and at 2-1 Newcastle would have been right back in it.
And in the first at the Etihad, he put Demba Ba through with a brilliant ball that Ba hit first time but England goalkeeper Joe Hart made a great save low to his left.
And then on Saturday the Frenchman made a similar type of run into the box in the second half, again in the inside-right position, and he was fouled by Rio Ferdinand for the penalty, which Demba Ba then dispatched in great style.
OK, so it was probably not a penalty, but that’s not the point.
And in the first half on Saturday he lofted a ball into the penalty area, for Demba Ba, who hit the ball on the volley, but straight at De Gea.
Ben Arfa is a threat, and with the mercurial skills he possesses he’s an important player for Newcastle, and defenders tend to panic, when a player of his ability starts running at you into the penalty box.
And of course if the defenders back off, as they did at Goodison Park last season, the mercurial one will smash the ball home and into the back of the net.
We’re quite sure Alan Pardew will be telling the French International to take players on when he’s near that penalty area.
So it’s becoming clear that Ben Arfa gives Newcastle a different option up front, and that’s one reason Alan Pardew was keen to tie up the Frenchman on a permanent deal on Tyneside last January, even though he was still recovering from his broken leg.
Ben Arfa can become a very important player for Newcastle this season, and we’ve seen glimpses of what this lad can do in a black and white shirt in the last couple of games.
We look forward to seeing a lot more of Ben Arfa’s magic as the season progresses.