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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Ben Arfa’s Sublime Skills Will Pay Off For Newcastle United

10:54 am, Friday, December 30th, 2011 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 46 Comments

Ben Arfa is one of those players Newcastle just love to watch.

Ben Arfa scores sublime goal at Bolton

And it seems that Newcastle fans have already taken the French international to their hearts, especially after his terrible time over the last year with his double leg fracture, and it’s his left leg too – the one he uses and the one he scored with at Bolton on Monday.

Alan Pardew has used him fairly sparingly this season (11 total appearances), and he believes that Newcastle have to be very solid if Ben Arfa is to play in the Newcastle side.

His wonderful skills are there for all to see, but he does tend to lose the ball, and possibly could expose the Newcastle side.

It was good to see Ben Arfa last Monday afternoon listening intently to what Alan Pardew was telling him, and then when he ran on, with his name being chanted by Newcastle fans, he told the other players how they were going to play.

And 8 minutes later he scored that sublime goal with those mercurial skills of  his,  when he hit a hard left wing cross from Ryan Taylor straight into the corner of the net with his left foot (shown above), giving the goalkeeper no chance at all.

Indeed, I was reminded of scoring a similar goal at Harbottle Park, which was just along Walker Road from where I lived in Evistones Gardens,  and it was when I was around eight years old, but there were no scouts watching that game - unfortunately – just my luck. :D

Ben Arfa came to Newcastle with a bad boy image,  but that’s way over-stated according to manager Alan Pardew, and the lad’s been very well behaved at Newcastle so far, which is good to hear.

Ben Arfa should be played up front, where his skills can do the most damage to the opposition, and that seems to be where Newcastle will use him, but whether he will become a starter any time soon on Tyneside is a good question.

The Newcastle players have no doubts about how good the 24 year-old is, and this is what Mike Williamson said about him today:

“He’s just about impossible to train against,” “You just have to drop off if you can because if you get too close to him, he’ll embarrass you.”

Gabriel Obertan, who we did a piece on earlier today, has no doubts that the 8 times capped French International is already a great player:

“Hatem is a great player and a great talent,” “I can understand why he can sometimes be frustrating because he looks as though he is not giving everything he has. Knowing him like I do though, that is not the case.”

“He is a hard worker, it is just that the way he is and the way he plays sometimes makes it look as though he is not trying as hard as some other players.”

“As a squad, we all know what a great talent he is. If he keeps working hard and giving his all in training, he is going to be a really big hit for this team.”

“Some people criticise him for what he cannot do, but we know he is a player who is capable of unlocking situations and that is a great skill to have.”

“In a game like the one at Bolton, it was always going to take something special to break them down. It was hard to find a gap, but Hatem did it.”

As Gabriel says, Ben Arfa can be the difference in class when Newcastle play sides like Bolton, who don’t have anybody of the same caliber at their club, and when the match is delicately balanced, as it was last Monday afternoon, a player like Ben Arfa can make all the difference – and he did.

We are big fans of the 24 year-old,  and maybe he can show some of that class tonight at Anfield and get us our  first win there in 17 years.

We wouldn’t put it past him.

Comments very welcome.



Tags: Gabriel Obertan · Hatem Ben Arfa · Mike Williamson · Newcastle News



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46 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Lee Dodd // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Keep Him Fit and Let Him Start a Few Games he will be Awsome …

  • 2 alex84 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Still, he wont start tonight…Pardew will want Best so we can have two target men and stay solid and compact.Shame as HBA will be full of confidence.

  • 3 NUFC FOR SALE // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    HBA looked like a superstar in the making before he broke his leg.

    Best has been a passenger in the last few games.

    I would start HBA today.

    We need Obertan at his best today to pressure Enrique into staying back.

    I think we have the central midfield to hurt L’pool but its going to a real difficult game because we never seem to get much down there.

  • 4 ilovetoon8788 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    If we play like we did in the first hour against Bolton, we should ask for a full refund of the tickets. It was some of the worst football i’ve ever witnessed by our club. Made Allardyce football look like Samba Soccer.

  • 5 roshan MAGPIE // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    i think that ben ARFA will score the winner today ha ha ha

  • 6 alex84 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    iLovetoon8788 -expect it again if Hba doesn’t play.

  • 7 Rosted Pork // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    arfa to start im getng sum news. cheers:-)

  • 8 Toon Tang // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    apparently we havnt even scored at anfield since 2004 so weel have to change that stat tonight. liverpool cant score without saurez so im going 0-0 draw.

    as for the previous post about playing long ball to besty – i hope to god it either starts working or we see the introduction of benny at half time. that first half at bolton was a monstrosity of monstrous proportions. benny boy breathed life into the whole sorry affair.

  • 9 GeordieGerman // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I suppose the idea of long balls is to try and tire the defence out. then introduce HBA.

  • 10 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Hope he starts 2nite.

    Doubt it tho,Pardew seems obsessed with picking the same team every week.

  • 11 GeordieGerman // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    *Then

  • 12 LewSpi // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:16 AM

    Anybody know anything about this lad?

    Just been tweeted by skysports

    http://t.co/A9M7j7sa

  • 13 angelswithdirtyfaces // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    HBA will play tonight but 30-45 mins.
    Long enough to weave some magic.

  • 14 LewSpi // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    Turns out it was tweeted 19 hours ago, but still, anybody know about him?

  • 15 alex84 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    Lewspi…he looks a real livewire.

  • 16 sweendog // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/newcastle-offer-trials-club-brugge-starlet-jordan-botaka-2588581 – bit interesting

  • 17 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    LewSpi // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    No chance mate.
    1, He will cost money.
    2, We will have to pay him a decent wage.

    lol….

  • 18 Toon_Army // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    I recon the african natios is on Pardews mind, He’s knows losing Ba will be a big miss and he wants to give the likes of Best and Ameobi as much play time as possible to build that confidence both strikers NEED to get a good run of form.

    Benny will play for sure (thats probably the reason he is not getting much play time now) but it’s who he will play with what is on Pardews mind.

  • 19 Toon Tang // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/16361888.stm

    funny picture if ever i saw one.

  • 20 Rotonda heights // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    Best = hoofball
    Ben Arfa = class

  • 21 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    I would drop Jonas 2nite aswell & play Santon left wing.

    Jonas was outstanding against stoke & has been shit ever since.

  • 22 alex84 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    great shout on Santon.

  • 23 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    Well if im Jonas & I’ve been playing shit for 6/7 games on the trot & im still starting every week.

    Im not gonna play any better.

    He needs to be dropped for a few games In my opinion.

  • 24 dmac // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    It is hard to see the best of Jonas atm i think with santon regularly at lb we will see Jonas do better. I’d like to see santon play again today.

  • 25 2_goal_tino // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    If he insists on two ‘big’ lads upfront i’d prefer shola over Best tonight. Best was completely anonymous against Swansea, WBA and Bolton. Give Shola a chance- he’s done well as a sub, and linked well with Ba for the second Norwich goal.

    We all know it will be the exact same team as Monday- with the possible exception of Santon though I’d expect Pardew to keep him on the bench.

  • 26 Rosted Pork // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    would play raylor on da wing insted of santon. cos raylor can cross da ball perfectly m creat chances

  • 27 dmac // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    Im afraid i agree with you Tino

  • 28 dmac // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:12 PM

    About it not being changed not starting Shola. I hope that never happens again tbh.

  • 29 arroeben // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Well i think ben arfa is just like obertan. Needs confidence, but the only diff is that fans are behind HBA, not obertan.

  • 30 elpaso_geordie // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    Everyone seems very confident tonight bearing in mind we playing at Anfield and have a shocking record and a certain Mr Carroll who is destined to score and come good against us.
    After years f supporting the toon if a striker is struggling then the toon is always the team that they find their way back……………Trust me

    I think we are capabale tonght but i still fear a bit of a beating to be honest

  • 31 arroeben // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM

    And both HBA and obertan are both very inconsistent.

  • 32 Dannyo // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    If Obertan becomes the player he’s always been touted to be, then i’d piss my pants in excitement watching the link-up between Ober, HBA and Cabaye…

  • 33 WWJBD // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Dannyo
    Aye Liverpool will be a exciting team when Cabaye, Obertan and HBA hit their potential ;) see what I did there

  • 34 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    Our record is Terrible at Anfield.

    I really hope that f***** doesn’t score…. lol

  • 35 2_goal_tino // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:40 PM

    I think tonight is a really interesting game. Without Suarez and with Gerrard likely to stay on the bench they really don’t have that many brilliant players. But are still very capable. It’s not many times when you go into a game thinking it is just as likely that you get destroyed/ you get beaten closely/ you draw/ or you win. I really don’t know what to expect. But will go for a 1-1.

    The problem will be scoring against them.

    Just been on ThisisAnfield blog- they’re all worried about the match too. But the only two players any of them identifying as being a threat are Ba and HBA. People know about HBA from the champions league and they are scared of him. One poster came up with a whole formula of spearing man-marking him for the whole game, but not getting too close to him as he would turn them. I can’t imagine the relief it is for opposition fans and players when they see Leon is playing instead.

  • 36 Dannyo // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    WWJBD
    Lol, awww, and i was all excited by the thought of it…
    Well, we’ll have £90 mill to spend on players if it’s Liverpool getting em :P
    Touche eh ;)

  • 37 WWJBD // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Dannyo
    Haha it made my negger side laugh.
    90million? Howay man there are only so many none league footballers out there!!!

    Suppose we could build a SportsDirect statue though you know to show other companies what it could look like if they paid for us to build them a statue ;)

  • 38 BelfastMagpie87 // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    It’ll be hoofball If Best plays.

    I think liverpools defence is currently the best in the league??

    Any good Centre back deals with them long balls all day long!!

  • 39 Dannyo // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    @WWJBD
    I bet we could have bought all of them non-league divisons and made them feeder clubs. Has to pay off atleast a couple of players a season :P
    If we got £90 million for those three, i’d build a statue of flippin MA in my back yard, lol :P
    (Don’t quote me on that incase it actually happens)

  • 40 Durham_Toon // Dec 30, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    @25 agreed. I’d like to see Shola start if we go for the 2 big men with HBA coming on with 20/25 minutes to go.

    Could be a great match and looking at our record at Anfield I think we’re due something tonight!

  • 41 ToonMobile // Dec 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    @WWJBD 37
    That comment about the statue got me laughing – on the subject though all has gone quiet about the stadium naming rights and shirt sponsor.

  • 42 Tsunki // Dec 30, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Think Best has to start as far as Pardew is concerned he will be the target man when Ba is off to the ACN. Then it’ll be HBA/Best or HBA/Shola.

    Jonas isn’t his normal self because he’s working too hard and looking over his shoulder and I think its all catching up with him. Santon would be better than Raylor so Jonas can spend less time tracking back and covering. I think our relatively small squad means that most of our players get little rest unlike the top six who get more rotation.

    Tonight it’s two teams not at their best and the more confident team will edge it. Who that will be i dunno but I sure hope our record of giving pressies to old boys doesn’t continue!

  • 43 2_goal_tino // Dec 30, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    @ Tsunki- Everyone keeps saying Best needs games to be ready for when Ba goes. BUT, Shola is just as likely to score as many as Best and he will play when Ba goes too. Best has had a run of three games and contributed nothing other than relief when HBA is brought on. Now give Shola the same run that everyone thinks Best needs and see what he can do. Everyone says he’s lazy while Best works hard, but I seriously can not see how he could’ve done less than Leon in those three games. Who cares though? I know Leon will get the nod tonight, and I’ll support him fully, just think Shola has more presence than him.

  • 44 Tsunki // Dec 30, 2011 at 1:55 PM

    Tino

    Not disagreeing with you at all – How many times has the mystery that is Shola surfaced with the crucial goal when everyone thought he’d made his last full start? I’m just saying what i think is in Pardew’s head. Personally I dont think Best and Shola can play together simply because both on the pitch at the same time gives us no option but route 1. And then we will be Stoke.

  • 45 Tsunki // Dec 30, 2011 at 1:56 PM

    .. or more accurately, Stokerland.

  • 46 theleckworthbird // Dec 30, 2011 at 5:00 PM

    Please let us get a result here. I hate the
    peoaching Giblet puddlers




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