Alan Pardew has been inundated with questions since Saturday, about why Ben Arfa wasn’t used in the second half against Swansea.
>Ben Arfa – still doesn’t have his sharpness back
And in fact the French International hasn’t played at all in the last two games.
The Newcastle manager has again tried to answer that question, and it seems he couldn’t use Ben Arfa at Norwich because Newcastle were just not strong enough overall, especially at the back.
And Alan believes Newcastle have to be at full tilt to have Ben Arfa playing in the side, and he didn’t think conditions were quite right against Swansea.
This is how Pardew explained the situation this time around:
“I know there have been suggestions, rumours, that he isn’t happy here, but it’s just not true.” “He’s fine, I think he knows he’s not at his best yet and the stats in the game he has played, I would expect better from him because of what a good player he is.”
“He just needs to come up a level.” “It’s not about his relationship with the other players, you’re looking too deeply into this, he’s just a player who needs more time.”
“I think he will find his best form before the end of the season but how quickly that is I don’t know. I’ll use him as I see fit, I didn’t use him on Saturday because I didn’t think the situation was right. It’s as simple as that.”
“He’s an individual character in terms of his personality on the pitch, but in terms of that we still have situations where we need to be at full tilt to put him in the team, and we’re not quite there at the moment.”
“We were a lot better Saturday and the chances of him being involved on Wednesday against West Brom are a lot higher because of how strong we looked defensively against Swansea. We looked like our old selves.”
“Of course, it didn’t help we had defensive injuries, because that has affected Hatem as well.” “To lose your three first choice centre-halves for the Norwich game hurts, because Hatem is the type of player you need a strong base to bring out the best in him and to protect ourselves.
“Saturday was the first time since Manchester United that we looked like a solid team.” “He is just lacking that bit of sharpness. I don’t think it is a case of accommodating him.”
“We look different when he is in the side and it needs to turn into a positive for us which I think it can do.” “Fingers crossed for Hatem that happens for him and us because if we can get him back to his very best we have an exceptional player.”
We don’t want to make too much of this of course, and it does take some time for players to regain their top fitness and form, after a serious injury like Ben Arfa suffered over a year ago.
The same thing is happening to young Dan Gosling, who is also finding it difficult to get his sharpness and form back, following his very serious ACL knee injury.
But we do expect Ben Arfa to play on Wednesday night against WBA, and we also expect him to put in a good display.
Maybe he can score his second goal for Newcastle against West Brom, and show he is on his way back.
We have full confidence that it’s just a matter time with the 24 year-old, but we have to be patient, which of course is never easy for a Newcastle fan. 😀