Ben Arfa Deserves Great Credit – Looking The Part At Newcastle

There’s been a lot of talk about how difficult Ben Arfa is to handle, but we think he’s handled himself very well indeed since he’s been at Newcastle.

Ben Arfa tussing with Clint Hill yesterday

Of course he had that terrible broken leg fifteen months ago,  but he’s now getting back to his best and we thought he was simply excellent yesterday in may different ways.

Not just because he looks so good on the ball, but he worked very hard for the side as soon as he came on after 20 minutes for the injured Cabaye, and Alan Pardew’s patience with the French International is starting to pay off.

Indeed,  if the Frenchman keeps following Pardew’s advice and doing the things the Newcastle manger wants to see from him, he’ll become a much better player and surely will be back in the full French squad for Euro 2012 this summer.

Ben Arfa is frustrated at not being in the starting line-up at Newcastle, but he is ready to work hard to get that starting position.

This what Ben Arfa told L’Equipe today:

“I am frustrated at not being able to play, but I won’t go and start an argument with the coach about it, because I know that I will only lose,” 

“I am working as hard as possible in training and I will be ready for the moment I will be needed. It’s a difficult situation for me because I love football so much.”

“I will be patient and hopefully that will pay off.”

Alan Pardew has done fantastically well since he took over the management job on Tyneside, and with his personality, confidence and a  willingness to play good attacking football, he’s in the right job at Newcastle – that’s for sure.

And all the talk about Alan possibly becoming the new England manager in the summer,   is nothing more than an acknowledgement of how very well he’s doing on Tyneside, as he has Newcastle in joint 5th position in the Premier League.

What’s working with Ben Arfa is that the lad seems to be listening to what Pardew is telling him, and it was apparent yesterday,  as Ben Arfa put in a lot of work off the ball, and he put in an excellent display for the Magpies in the 1-0 win against QPR.

Ben Arfa is working hard both on the field and in training,  in an attempt to nail down that first team starting place on Tyneside:

“I’m continuing to work in training and be a good team-mate. I am working harder than ever to get a place both in and out of training.”

“I will respect his authority and keep my philosophy whether I play or not,” “For me football is a game based on lots of movements and passes.”

“The coach likes the long, direct game. He often says, “cross it in the box” but I completely respect that philosophy.”

“I will not start any arguments, my time will come and I just have to be patient. I am ready both physically and mentally.”

Alan Pardew has a name of being very fair with his players,  and he creates excellent working relationships with them, and we think he will get the very best out of the mercurial Frenchman.

But it was a complete surprise when Ben Arfa was not in the starting eleven yesterday after his world-class goal in the previous game against Blackburn, which turned the game for Newcastle in that FA Cup tie.

The fact that he didn’t complain and when he came on, to great cheers form the adoring  Newcastle crowd, he got down to business and helped Newcastle to a valuable 3 points.

That’s what we want to see from our players,  and  the Frenchman deserves great credit for that positive attitude.

Comments welcome.

36 comments so far

  • G

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #1

    He and Guthrie looked great together. I agree with AP’s comments about still needing to adjust to the Prem style, but he didn’t do himself any harm at all yesterday.

  • grumpy_old_sod

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #2

    I can really understand arfa being annoyed. I think he is a very skilful player who can terrify a defence. My only concern with arfa is that he trys to take on too many players when a pass is available.
    Would like pardew to give him a run of games now that ba is away.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #3

    “The coach likes the long, direct game. He often says, “cross it in the box” but I completely respect that philosophy.”

    So much for Pardew who said he prefers the passing game. I’m yet to see this season a game where we truly play the beautiful game. We play just like what Arfa said. Long balls and more long balls. Worse than Allardyce.

    Swansea blew Arsenal off the park with their passing yesterday. My 2nd fav team this season. Excellent footballing team and deserves all the success.

  • BelfastMagpie87

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #4

    Please start him next week.

    Completely changed the way we played yesterday.

  • shearermania

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #5

    cant for the love of god not understand why this player isnt the first name on the team sheet….

    bums off the seats springs to mind

  • ToonDownSouth

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #6

    By English standards – Brendan Rodgers aside – Pardew is a footballing purist! Even Manchester United started just lumping it upfield when we were battering them!

    But with Best & Shola our only two strikers, what else can we do.

  • jayphoto

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #7

    gonna be a great player for us But I understand why he doesn’t start! Very obviously still learning what the premier league is about! But I guess this is technically his first full (ish) season, its understandable! For me, i’d start him in every home match, and rotate him away depending on the opposition!

  • ilovetoon8788

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #8

    When Arfa came on, we didn’t even miss Cabaye 1 bit. Guthrie played just like Cabaye. I think Guthrie can be magnificent central midfielder for us and got the potential to send Cabaye to the bench.

  • Stuart

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #9

    Now is really the time HBA should be getting his chance in the team. With Ba and Tiote away at the ACN and Cabaye maybe injured, oh, and not forgetting the questionable form of Obertan, there are 4 spots in the team up for grabs.

    Maybe at the moment AP feels he needs to adjust his game more before he gets the #10 role he wants, who knows. But if that is the case he should definately be starting him on the right wing in place of Obertan. I know Hba apparently doesnt want to play on the wing, but if he wants to play like he says he would do it to prove to AP he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get in the first team.

  • martoon

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #10

    He is a fantastic player, yes, he loses the ball sometimes. I also think that his brain works quicker than other players and sometimes he passes to where he would expect there to be a team mate but they have not caught up yet.

  • Beattie25

    Jan 16, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    Comment #11

    I love Hatem, there I said it.

    If 2 years ago when we were travelling to Plymouth, Doncaster, Crystal Palace etc… you’d have said to me that in 2 years time Newcastle would have Hatem Ben Arfa in the team, Davide Santon at left back and a host of quality players that would take you into 6th place, above Liverfool and challenging for Europe, I’d have had you burnt at the stake for being a Witch,

    I mean c’mon look how far we have come. Yeah some of it hasn’t been pretty (like yesterday) but what times we have had together (5-1 mackems, 3-1 Liverfool, 3-0 Man Ure etc…) and I for one am positive that we can keep doing it.

    Yeah our owner, managing director and manager are playing money ball with our team but I am so happy that the experiment is paying off. We have got the best centre midfield pairing since Speed and Lee (and who is to say that Tiote and Cabaye are not better) and we have got it for £9 million.

    Put it into perspective, £9 million converted into the 1990’s would be about £1 million.

    Our team is on the up, and just because we have a tight budget, doesn’t mean we won’t purchase players. Lets get the positivity back, let those wounds heal, let the good times bgin and lets start dreaming again.

    They say that you don’t choose a football team, that a football team chooses you. I am happy that Newcastle United choose me as for the best part of 20 years I have dreamt lots. Winning the leauge (it never happened but I dreamt it) conquering Europe (never happend but I dreamt it could) winning the FA cup (again the same) and now it seems that the fans only expect nightmares. It’s no way to live!

    I dreamed a dream of time gone byyyyyyy……

    no but seriously lets get out of this depression and lets dream and laugh at failures rather have nightmares and moan about victories,

  • BelfastMagpie87

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    Comment #12

    Yesterday just proved even more to me that Jonas should not play on the left.

    He looked far better when he was popping up on the right & the middle of the pitch.

  • ToonDownSouth

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:03 PM

    Comment #13

    Worse than Allardyce? Do you actually remember him at Bolton? The worst thing I’ve seen in my entire life…

    At least Stoke pressure well with long balls though. We’re not even very good when we play them. Shola isn’t mobile enough to get on the end of flick ons… It’s so strange.

    Yesterday when we switched to the bizarre 4-3-3 with Jonas in the middle, our possesion went from 30% to 63% by the end of the game. There’s no way that there’s any argument for long balls against QPR – I can understand Manchester United, who could play us off the park if we weren’t sharp enough.

  • Les Grossman

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #14

    Didnt you once say that if you were wrong about something you would NEVER post on here again??

    Let me look…..mmmm……

  • Partizan

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    Comment #15

    lovetoon….I like DG but to have the potential to send YK to the bench will never happen.

  • ryan toon

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:11 PM

    Comment #16

    guys cissokho is very close to joining believe me

  • Beattie25

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Comment #17

    I see the mackems are after Papiss Cisse. What a signing he would be for us. Imagine Ba and Cisse up front together.

    That would be the Premiershiip title right there

  • arroeben

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #18

    For all we know 20 years down the road and Alan Pardew could be doing an Alex Ferguson. Old and frail, but still managing Newcastle United!

  • ToonDownSouth

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    Comment #19


    If you feel like being a cheerleader, maybe you can take Smith’s role? I hear the wages are decent like

    On another note, big respect for Keegan, who clearly saw Guthrie had something special when he signed him.

  • jesperfuglsang

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    Comment #20

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. Don’t know what AP wants with HBA; he could easily had spend that money else where.

    HBA wants to play passing football, so does Cabaye and I was promised so 😉

    But AP wants to play hoof ball, so he can accommodate the likes of Ameobi and Best…

    I like the guy, but boy he’s stubborn! just doesn’t want to abandon his beloved 4-4-2 even though the bizarre 4-4-3 on Sunday paid of.

  • Rowan Milsted

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Comment #22

    HBA is undoubtedly a fantastic player who gives us something other players don’t. That said, he gives the ball away sometimes and tries to do too much. Of course this sometimes leads to great goals, like when he ghosted past 6 Blackburn defenders and scored that amazing goal, but I feel he needs to learn to protect the ball sometimes and adapt his play to the situation of the game. It was quite surprising how much of a difference he made when he came on for Cabaye, how we passed the ball better and retained possession, but that one instance doesn’t prove he should be starting ahead of Cabaye. I really do want to see more of him, he’s fantastic and exactly the sort of player teams love to have at their disposal, but I understand why he doesn’t always start. I think we’re yet to see the very best of him but he’s almost there, and I also believe that’s true of Cabaye, so it’s actually a positive situation so long as Pardew handles it well and keeps them both happy. Also, Cabaye can do more defensive work than HBA and that works well in Pardew’s plans. If HBA and Cabaye continue to improve the way they are then we have 2 very exciting attacking midfielders who can pass well, run well and score great goals. Which is nice!

  • jesperfuglsang

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Comment #23

    HAHA jayphoto 🙂

  • John

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    Comment #24

    Gave a lovely little pass to best who nearly scored yestherday has that in his locker far better player than obertan needs games on the RM.

  • Brutooon

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #25

    i love HBA even before he join us

    I got the Marseille AND the Lyon shirt with his name on it (plus the Newcastle Kit of course)

    This guy is world class – so far we only seen 20-30% of his real skill. when he is on form, he is messi-type !!!

  • Scottishmag1

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #26


    Completely agree, HBAs brain is a pass ahead of some of our players up front!!

  • Stuart

    Jan 16, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    Comment #27


    I couldnt give a flying f**k if I did, how exactly are you going to stop me? Grow up man, its just a football blog. Or do you have that little going on in your life that you’re prepared to trawl through months of threads?

    Go for it man, fill your boots.

  • Tino3Barca2

    Jan 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #28

    Posted some of this before but…

    A question for the one player Pardew has signed who isn’t a passer, quick, good on the ball?


    Then look at the type of players we are allegedly after. For E.G.

    Clyne etc etc

    I think sometimes, although it frustrates me too, he is making the best of our hoofball players of old squads. Replacing Best or Shola with a good pacy striker (which we seem to want to do) and Simpson with a decent fullback (also apparent in plans) and we are much closer to the team we want.

    In my eyes he is doing what Robson did when he came, adding youth, pace, flair and movement to a pretty one paced squad.

    To play the football HBA wants and I believe Pardew does too to an extent we need mobile, intelligent forwards and fast, ball playing defenders as the full backs especially will see a LOT of the ball. At present we have 1 decent fullback who is still playing his was into the PL game. One decent striker who is fast and clever in his movement and 2 fairly slow CBs. We have 3 or 4 players in the team who break moves down constantly either through lack of quality on the ball or lack of movement off it. This won’t change until they are replaced IMO.

    If we are to play this kind of freeflowing passing system, and a 433 would be nice and accommodate HBA much better, then squad needs further improvements.

  • Liam

    Jan 16, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #29

    HBA is amazing, just doesnt fit into our system perfectly! If it was physically possible to kill someone through a television i would have killed Ray Wilkins yesterday for chatting absolute rubbish about him.

  • Rowan Milsted

    Jan 16, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Comment #30

    @ Liam

    Haha, I know what you mean! Don’t worry though, he doesn’t only talk rubbish about HBA… he talks rubbish generally. About everything. A lot. And then he repeats it. Again and again. And again. A very frustrating man to listen to!

  • wynsleap

    Jan 16, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #31

    It’s a fact of life that with nearly every player who possesses an extraordinary God-given talent some frustrating unpredictability accompanies it.
    While I still think we haven’t yet seen the best of him, Ben Arfa obviously has that unique ability to change a game in seconds through sheer skill and unpredictability.
    Unfortunately on the other side of the coin we have to accept that at times he’ll want to do the unexpected, the trick that doesn’t come off or the unbelievable defence spilitting through ball that’s a whisker away from doing the business. We’ll probably curse him when he loses the ball after a mazy run rather than part with it but you have to put up with that part of the game if you want to include such a special talent.
    The secret of all this is to have a good all round, hard working solid team who can accept and absorb this unpredictability in the hope that one flash of genius will win the game.
    At the minute we are almost there in that respect except for the lazy lumbering Shola who must be the kind of player Ben Arfa hates. No movement, commitment or positional sense.
    Fill that gap with a good striker – allow Benny to play to his strengths and we could be in for some exciting times.

  • Mark.J

    Jan 16, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #32

    @Ryan Toon

    How do you know Cissokho is close to joining? source?

  • london_mag

    Jan 16, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Comment #33

    Starting to look the part… is that cause hes actualy been given some playing time?? Ive heard SO much shit about him recently but hes got TONS OF CLASS, and is a team player. People have been so harsh on him hes barly had a chance to play since injury.

    The commentator was slagging him off yesterday saying he shouldve passed more but bollocks, he needs the creative space I really mean it. Really pisses me off people talking like they know. Who exactly should he pass it to Shoala? who was actualy SHIT yesterday.

    Its his right to be creative and take a chance sometimes- look what he did against blackburn! no sorry ill jump on the bandwagon of pretending like i have a deeper understanding of football than i do based on what other people say- he needs the pockets in a game and without them hes useless or he needs to pass the ball to ameobi more

    Ben Arfa is a true artist who has his own style and rhythm which messes up the regular style defenses are used to- LET HIM BECOME A GREAT NUFC PLAYER

  • max

    Jan 16, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #34

    really great player

  • Les Grossman

    Jan 16, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #35

    Touchy little gimp aren’t we stuey boy!! Just outlining how much sh!te you talk there youngun!


  • Wandering Geordie

    Jan 16, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Comment #36

    Just been reading Le progres Lyon local paper and it looks like Cissoko is going to sign.They are adamant


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