Ben Arfa Can Take His Cue From The Great Lionel Messi

Alan Pardew is doing  a good job of telling Ben Arfa, via the press,  what he needs to do to improve his game at Newcastle, and then become a regular starter in the side.

Ben Arfa – in action at Bolton

The Newcastle manager has proved himself to be an excellent man manager,  and his style and personalty seems to fit with the Newcastle club almost perfectly,  and certainly Alan is not shy to say what a tremendous club Newcastle United is, which always helps.

But that’s not new news to most of us of course, but it’s interesting the way he is handling the French maestro, because Ben Arfa does give the ball away too much, and probably needs to work harder for the team too.

This is what Alan Pardew talked to the local press today:

“I think we saw all the sides of Hatem.” “There was some loose stuff – he was a bit cheap with the ball – and I’d have liked a bit more intensity out of him defensively.”

“But there were some magical moments which no one else in our team can produce.”  

“It’s frustrating for him to have that sort of ability and not play because of other issues like his intensity,  when we haven’t got the ball and coming back from that injury.”

“But we’re getting there. We’re trying to get the balance of the team right.”  “When he came out on the right, it looked better for us.”

“That doesn’t necessarily mean that’s him – he can play a number of roles.” “Every player has a different personality and character.”

“And Hatem’s a very different personality to most footballers in terms of the way he believes in himself, and the ability that he has.”

If Ben Arfa wants to see a player with world-class skills who works his tail off for his team, he need look no further than a certain Lionel Messi of Barcelona, and Lionel won the World Player of the Year award for the third time running last Monday night.

Lionel Messi is probably one of the greatest players ever to play the beautiful game,  and he’s still only 24 (isn’t that just amazing) and has been at Barcelona since he was 12 years old.

Lionel had a growth hormone deficiency at the time he was at Newell’s Old Boys, and Barcelona had spotted him and offered to pay his medical bills (Newell’s couldn’t afford to) if he was willing to move to Spain.

Lionel Messi – the worlds’ best player for the last three years

And the rest is history as they say, as the youngster and his father moved to Spain in 2000, where he’s been ever since, and he’s completely loyal to Barcelona, the best club team in the world for a few years now.

Messi has played 297 times for the Spanish masters with 211 goals – not too bad at all.

But the thing that’s so great about Messi is that he’s so modest , and almost as modest as our very own Demba Ba, and the lad has a pure team ethic.

And when Messi’s  interviewed he always talks about the team,  and plays down his own contributions, which of course are massive and he scores the big goals in the big games, which is what world-class players should be doing.

England’s world-class players please take note.

Newcastle’s great Ben Arfa could do a lot worse than follow  Messi’s example,  because it’s those areas of work-rate and tracking back, and giving the ball away too easy, which are some of the areas the Frenchman needs to improve on.

If Lionel Messi loses the ball just watch  how he works like crazy to get the ball back.

Ben Arfa already has the difficult stuff – he is simply loaded with skills – as we all witnessed in what is probably the best individual goal ever scored at St. James’ Park against Blackburn Rovers last Saturday, in the 120 years that St. James Park has been the home of Newcastle United.

If  Ben Arfa can fix the other pieces of his game that are missing,  he will become a world-class player, and in a black and white shirt too.

That sounds good!

Comments welcome.

37 comments so far

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #1

    come on ed 🙁

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #2

    he needs games to prove that he isnt as bad as all say he is,,

    from what iv seen of him he has worked pretty hard

  • JackButler

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #3

    Catchy – you said in the previous thread that we have the worst owner in the league.

    you do realise we are 7th in the league?
    Something must be working, don’t you agree?

    Would you prefer to see Sholla munching on a piece of chicken for the Venkey’s?

  • GeordieGerman

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #4

    Ben Arfa has been told to pass up till the final third. Thereafter the ball is all his.

  • GeordieGerman

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #5

    catchy in norway // Jan 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM


    ppl chose to join the army ,

    20 prem teams in the league, we have the worst owners by far

    Thereby, Players can also choose whether they play for us or not.

  • -Tendo-

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    Comment #6

    Got to agree with JB, i’d take fat ash over Venky’s any day…

  • nightfa11

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

    Comment #7

    i for one think we have a great owner.. the only time i thought theres sth missing in his head was when he wore smiths jersey;D

    but seriously..great scounting network.. my only complain is that he looks at the club from strictly business perspective – meaning we sth switch to 2nd, 3rd, 4th target cos the fee is a few million higher, or because our primary targets agents is a greedy bastard..

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #8

    im not up to speed with what is going on at blackburn, here in norway i carnt read all the papers i used to , but from what i have seen, kean seems to be the problem,

    we are in 7th, i carnt argue with that, but i dont trust them, they have lied so many times,

    i like pardew, but i feel he is a pupet, as when he thinks for himself, which normally is what we are thinking, he gets shot down by there actions

    sorry but i feel a manager should have some say in what goes on, in football or any other business, maybe not the final say on everything but, pardew dont seem to have a mouth now

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Comment #9

    I think Arfa could really flourish in a line up like this at QPR


    4-3-3 :/

  • nightfa11

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

    Comment #10

    i think every manager should be a bit of puppet when it comes to transfers.. managers are very familiar only with players from their own league, who cost a fortune.. either u have a great scouting network or a manager who decides on everything.. both cant work..least not as effective.

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Comment #11

    Yohan Cabaye – £4.5M – Lille
    Mehdi Abeid – free agent – Lens
    Demba Ba – free agent – West Ham
    Sylvain Marveaux – free agent – Rennes
    Gabriel Obertan – £3M – Man United
    Davide Santon – £5M – Inter Milan
    Rob Elliot – £300K – Charlton

    out of this lot 3 have been good, one could be good (mehdi)
    one a croc, but has talent
    to not good at all ober and elliot

    scouting network has got some gems but also some dross to

  • nightfa11

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #12

    catchy in norway

    cos krul is better then elliot u cant really say he sucks..ffs..

    only player who didnt deliver as much as we hoped for is obertan..& hes only a kid.. so 1 player. to bad for marveaux..cos hes better then any of our other wingers.

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #13

    one more thing,

    messi is on another planet to most players, ronaldo is the closest to him,

    its hard to compair any player to these

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:35 PM

    Comment #14


    Or you can have neither and be just like Dogleash, and just target whoever the best team’s scout is targeting. Newcastle have arguably one of the best scouting teams, proven by the lads we have brought in from abroad, and since last January Liverpoo always seem to be linked with players we are linked with a day after we are linked with them.

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #15

    Marveux when he played has looked top class. He has a lot of pace and a good pass on him. When fit he will be immense. He played superbly in the games he played for us this season.

    You can’t rate elliot since he barely plays. Largely due to Tim Krul’s outstanding performances. The only signing that has been sub par is Obertan.

  • martoon

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Comment #16

    I’m sure Messi is grateful to Barcelona but it is easy to be loyal to a succesful club. I wonder if he would still be there it they had been mid-table for the last few years?
    I’d rather have MA as owner than the Venkys or even Bill Kenwright or dare I say it Freddie Shepherd.

  • JackButler

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

    Comment #17

    catchy – out of all those players you listed only Obertan has failed to live up to expectation, but he’s only 22 and has plenty of time yet. Elliot was brought in as back up only, never as a 1st team player, yes he will be called upon at sometime but he can handle himself without any worries, we’ve also brought Colo, Willo and HBA in under Ashley, our scouting network is second to none, the envy of the majority of Premier League clubs

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    Comment #18

    @Super Simmo Strikes Again

    No Ba.

    But Yes I agree with your lineup

  • Rocknstrolla

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #19

    JackButler that Shola comment made me blurt out the orange juice I was drinking all over my desk at work 🙁

  • catchy in norway

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #20

    krul forstr and harper are much better than him so why sign him??

    obertan is 22 now, no longer a kid, at 15 he should have been tought basic football skills , like passing and crossing and shooting,

    im 38 now and know for a fact i could do those at 15, as you get older you learn when to run where to run when to cross,

    at 22 i had like most of the players around me new what to do,,

    please remember he came from the clair fontain school, he has been at very good clubs and at man u he spent 3 years with some of the best players and coaches in football, he has had good schooling in football,

    what everyone has seen in him is speed, and tried to add football to that, it hasnt worked 🙁

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #21


    Ba can’t play against QPR, he is at the ACON, unless they decided to let him fly back. 😛

    and talking about ACON… Tiote should not be in that lineup either. Lol. My bad.

  • JackButler

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Comment #22

    Rocknstrolla – Glad to make you smile mate 🙂

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    Comment #23


    You forgot the Monster, Tiote. We got him under MA aswell.

  • LGFUAD21

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    Comment #24

    Super Simmo Strikes Again

    The Tiote inclusion was what made me ask about Ba.

    I’d probably have it lie this against QPR if we were to go 4-3-3

    Simmo Willo Colo Santon
    Obertan Guthrie
    Benny Best Jonas

    I know Obertans inclusion is very strange but I think Cabaye is best equipped for CDM role than what we have. Probably have Raylor instead of Obertan actually.

    Could give HBA Best Jonas and Obertan roaming roles like Chelsea have done in the past

  • Kingads

    Jan 12, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #25

    think people need to lay off obertan !!!! what they fail to realise is this lad is young has talent, needs time to settle in, look at our captain colo??? how many people slated him when he first signed, jose as well !!! obertan has never had a run in a team before give him time. given him crap when he comes off is not going to help hes still a toon player get behind him !!!!

  • duncandisorderly

    Jan 12, 2012 at 2:39 PM

    Comment #26

    Hang on a minute, Ed…
    England’s world class players?!?! Who the hell are we talking about??

  • mattnufc

    Jan 12, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #27

    Simmo Willo Colo Santo
    Ben Arfa Guthrie Cabaye Guits
    Best Shola

  • duncandisorderly

    Jan 12, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #28

    Got to be


    Sub Raylor for Best or Shola later and push Benny up if things need changing…

  • Oleg G

    Jan 12, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #29

    HBA is a great player when it comes to his skills. However, I do see as Ed pointed out that he got some things he must improve to be a really great player.

    I thought of him higher and I am big fan.
    But his work rate, tracking back, helping the defense and loosing the ball to much is defo needs improving.
    Play is simple Hatem, pass it around, distribute, and from time to time make your runs, that will be more effective and more surprising to the other teams.
    And must must must stop loosing the ball and not running to get it back. There are several players who do that and defo Messi is one of them. All Barca are like that. And you don’t need any skills for that, just run and pressure, just the power of will.

    Hope we will have HBA in a good form and shape soon and Pards will work on his flaws so he will become a legend!

  • mattyNUFC

    Jan 12, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Comment #30

    if i’m honest i think pardew is just trying to excuse his exclusion from the team. yeah in the middle third he loses the ball, but he doesn’t ever not track back

    time to speak with your team selection now, pards

  • TimToon9

    Jan 12, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Comment #31

    Omg, I am emberrassed of being a norwegian when people like Catchy represent us, what a load of garbage this guy says.. Honestly, I am for freedom of speech,, and everybody should have their own opinion, but we have the worst owner in the league? Heard of Venky’s? And you must be one of few who thinks we haven’t done great in the transfer market.. Get a grip

  • jakesome

    Jan 12, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Comment #32

    how can anyone defend elliott. he is actually pants
    messed up sevral times against forest and again for the reserves the other night. hes not a prem keeper hes a 300k keeper
    im not being snobby but somtimes you get good deals and this guy was just a squad filler. hope i never see him in first team. forster had twice t5he potential but more ambition

  • hatem or love him

    Jan 12, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #33

    The best goals I’ve ever seen at St’ James Park are
    1. Philipe Albert’s lob against the red devils
    2. Ginola’s curler against the devils again
    3. Ben Arfa against blackburn

  • davis_toons

    Jan 12, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Comment #34

    Yes..he wore smiths jersey attending game during that time but did anyone wonder who actually advised him to buy Smith @7million pound and speaks all well about the player? BigSam?

    That was his 1st and the last time spotted with Smith at the back

    Mike was milked into! He should be clear of the better players in the team by now.

  • swoopingmagpie

    Jan 12, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #35

    If Messi played in England he might find that a little more difficult to perform than he does in Spain. Ben has come to show he can perform here and has recieved a broken leg for his trouble but still wants to do it.

  • obatoyou

    Jan 13, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    Comment #36

    Just checking if I can post, been reading for a while, want to contribute to the lovely conversations we have on here.

  • Premiership Manager

    Jan 13, 2012 at 4:24 AM

    Comment #37

    Catchy Man Utd don’t buy crap players and if Graham Car scouted Obertan I have faith that there is much better to come from the player.

    At a guess Pardew is trying to determine his best position, like several other players we have in the squad, (Rtaylor, Santon, Ben Arfa and Marvaux).

    Out of all the players you’ve listed Obertan is the only player who has not lived up to expectations however he hasn’t had time to settle and his confidence is low, my guess is like Bergkamp at Arsenal, Enrique and Collochini at NUFC he needs time to settle.

    With resect to Ben Arfa, he came with a reputation as being difficult to manage. He has immense tallent however as far as I can see Pardew is doing a very good job of managing both him and the team. There is no I in team and HBA needs to realise that. We aren’t in a position to carry players therefore everybody needs to make sure that they retain posession and don’t give the ball away cheaply as HBA has a tendency to, He also need to work more for the team in terms tracking back and bringing other other players into the game by passing the ball instead of going for individual glory.

    As far as Pardew is concerned, he’s the best manager we’ve had in recent years bar Robson and Keegan, however unlike Keegan he hasn’t had the luxury of buying players on a whim. Given the budgetary restraints he is doing a very good job.


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