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.
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.