Ben Arfa Provides The Class To Get The Newcastle Win

Newcastle put in the disciplined performance Alan Pardew wanted, and the lads got their just rewards at Bolton with a fine 2-0 win yesterday.

Alan Pardew – with Ben Arfa at end of the game yesterday

And Alan Pardew was a delighted and relieved man after the game, as he had seen his team end their six game run without a win, and Newcastle were left 5 points above 8th placed Stoke City.

This is what Alan said after the game:

“It  was important today that we gave a more disciplined performance and I think we did that.”  “It’s a nice Christmas present .”  “We just felt that we were not far away from getting back to winning ways.”

“We didn’t play to our strengths against West Brom.”  “We know our strengths – we know what we’re good at and today was much more like it.”

“We didn’t give Bolton many opportunities today.”  “The team was tight and there wasn’t a lot of space for Bolton to play in.”

“In that environment, we can create chances because technically, we’re good with players like Cabaye, Hatem and Demba Ba.”

“In the first half I thought we just rushed a couple of things. In the second, we had a little bit more time and we created the moment.”

Many of our readers wanted Ben Arfa to start yesterday afternoon at the Reebok Stadium, but Alan preferred Leon Best up front alongside Demba Ba.

But as soon as the Frenchman came on for an ineffective Best after 61 minutes he changed the game.

And Ben Arfa scored Newcastle’s first goal just eight minutes later, with a very good first time left footed shot into the corner,  following a good Ryan Taylor run and cross down the left wing.

That was the lad’s first goal since he scored at Goodison Park last year, before his horrific double fracture of the  left leg he picked up at Manchester City on October 3rd.

And  within two minutes a good run and cross down the right wing by Gabriel Obertan set up Demba Ba for his 14th league goal of the season and it was all over.

Pardew has said that Ben Arfa is not yet back to his best form,  but he’s getting there,  and he was certainly the match-winner for Newcastle yesterday, that’s for sure.

And it was indeed a late but very welcome Christmas present for Newcastle fans everywhere.

Comments welcome.

18 comments so far

  • Troleibusiukas_LTU

    Dec 27, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #1

    Good win yesterday! Liverpool must be worried:)

  • Troleibusiukas_LTU

    Dec 27, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #2

    p.s True we need to roll the ball more patiently,and stop those long passes. Our pass rate is not impressive, and we should keep possession a bit more.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 27, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #3

    After the first hour of absolute long ball dross to Best, surely Pardew can now see the value of permanently playing Ben Arfa or Vuksic instead of Best. I know some Ben Arfa detractors say he blows hot and cold, but centre halves can head the long ball away all day long but they hate a guy running at them. Apologies to Solano if I went over the top, but he was doing my napper in when every man and his dog was saying get Ben Arfa on for Best and we thought Pardew was going to leave it till the last 10 mins or not at all again to make the change.

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Comment #4

    Fantastic post below

    NUFC_4_Life // Dec 27, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Good goals and a good win but overall we looked terrible, how is it we have some of the most skilled players in the Premiership but we resort to booting the ball long every time hoping for a knock down to Ba. If we keep the ball and pass it on the ground we showed that we can open up teams and it’s really frustrating knowing how we can play and then watching us play Sam Allardyce Football…Saying this it was good to see Williamson get back in the side and play good football…Good to see Ben Arfa get a goal but we need to start playing real football before he becomes a regular player, I don’t think our predictable long balls everytime work with Ben Arfa’s style of play…Happy for the win still expecting a top 7 finish, hoping/expecting us to start playing proper football again against Liverpool

  • BigKirky

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #5

    Im looking forward to the Liverpool game on Friday. I hope we can get something from it. There’s no reason why we can’t, especially with Cabaye and Tiote back in cm. Lucas for them is out for the season or something isnt he?

  • solano

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    Comment #6

    Rotonda….I accept your apology! It does you no favours when you call people thick headed morons etc.
    I actually agree with you that Best is poo and HBA is now up to speed after injury and deserves a starting run.
    However, as well as showing a little humility now and again, I think you should try to assess why Pardew has to make the choice between so many average players(Perch for example) or gamble on unproven reserves. You need to cut the manager some slack, he is working under extremely difficult circumstances and hasn’t done too bad. He needs the fans’ backing as well as his bosses!

  • JackButler

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #7

    I don’t see why we try the long ball, we’re not exactly blessed with tallest strikers in the Prem plus we have the like’s of Cabaye, HBA and Vukic and the long ball takes any influence they have away

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #8


    i think you have to ask why pardew persists with wingers, then chose to go long and bypass our midfield,

    not sure if you remember our pre season, but vuckic and mehdi where our stand out players, and from the few performances vuckic has had so far, he seems to have something about him,

    sam ameobi, has looked lively every time he has played,

    yes the manager has a tough job, but he gets paid good money to make tough choices, and right now he looks like a man with no real ideas,

    if he continues to put trust in obertan and jonas, he must get the ball down and start feeding the wings, in order for them to try and get some crosses in,

    as for the word gamble you say, i dont think its much of a gamble,, do you? its not like there 15, there all young men,

    kadar or perch? kadar for me, he isnt great, but he is better than perch

  • Hatem

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    Comment #9

    JackButler, it would be alright if those three were the ones playing the long balls

  • kingkev9

    Dec 27, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #10

    Catchy- when did you last see Kadar play? He has been awful for the reserves. Vuckic had a couple of excellent shots V West Brom but the game passed him by. Jonas is one of our key players. Sammy hasn’t done anything in the prem games, ideally he should be out in loan as should Vuckic and Abied.

    Best and Obertan are not good enough and should be replaced in January

  • solano

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #11

    My point is Catchy….we only have a handful of real quality players in the squad…they are, Krul, Colo, Tiote, Cabaye, Ba and probably HBA. The rest are average, poor, injury prone or totally inexperienced. Mehdi Abeid had never even played a first team game in France so it is highly likely that Pardew is going to hoy him into a struggling side and possibly jeopardise his development. It frustrates me as well, when Obertan seems to play week in, week out – I just can’t see what he brings to the table at all! The bottom line is we need an increase in quality and you know who makes those decisions – it is unfortunate that the manager has to reap what his bosses sow. An abandonment of the one in, one out policy is the only way we can improve the squad- that is a fact!

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #12


    i have to admit, i have not seen kadar for a while,

    you say the game passed vuckic by, he will learn more from playing in the first team, he has the ability , but he is used to playing reserve team football,

    id rather give mehdi and sam ameobi playing time than obertan or best,

    jonas is one of my fave players in our current squad, but other than him helping out in df , we arnt getting much out of him,

    this though i think is more down to the fact that when we do attack , its normally down the left, teams just double up on him,

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #13


    i do agree with you, its just tough to watch the crap we are watching, when he can make one or 2 changes, and may be take a gamble on a raw tallent,

  • solano

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #14

    A decent point Catchy….I didn’t include Jonas in my “blue chip” group – he isn’t really top notch but I have to admit he has added a bit more to his undoubted workrate over the last year. However, teams get wise to a lobsided attack, as you point out – that’s why we need additional quality and personally, I would look to replace Obertan in the team.

  • solano

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #15

    Catchy…it most probably will be gambling on raw talent!It’s a sad state of affairs when we will all be ecstatic if we even manage to keep my selected band of players come the end of January. NUFC needs ambition and investment.

  • kingkev9

    Dec 27, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #16

    Jonas takes 2/3 opposition players out of position and makes space for Cabeye, Ba etc but without a Cabeye or HBA we don’t make the most of this as Obertan and Tiote don’t have vision.

    Best has zero movement, a shocking first touch and can’t create anything for himself.

    Vuckic could be great for us but if we had a good owner who invested in a squad then Vuckic, Abeid and Sammy would be out on loan getting regular 90 mins and getting ready for our first team in 12/18/24 months.

    However if HBA isn’t ready to start I’d play Vuckic in the hole behind Ba.

  • toonincheek

    Dec 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #17

    Not a fan of the long ball stuff, but . . . .

    It’s a good way to counter-attack quickly, and

    Playing two wingers stretches out the opponents defence. Without wingers, everyone crowds the centre and that makes the long ball less likely to succeed.

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 27, 2011 at 4:31 PM

    Comment #18


    i like jonas because he is alwys there, trying to get the ball and work for the team, if we spread the play across the whole mid field he would have more space,

    if obertan could just add one thing to his game that would improve the shape, it would be to stay out wide, and not come in as much as he does, he really loses the shape of the team, it wont improve his crossing, it wont improve his running at players, but it would open up more space,

    kingkev 9 i agree


    playing winger does stretch the opersition, we seen that for 2 whole mins during that 90 mins of long ball xabition yesterday, sad game , only pleased we won 🙂


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