Alan Pardew is still challenging our mercurial midfielder Ben Arfa to increase both his work-rate and energy when he’s playing for Newcastle.
Ben Arfa – he’s trying to improve work-rate
That has to be a general statement because the lad worked his socks off for Newcastle against QPR, and had a very good game last Sunday in Newcastle’s fine 1-0 victory.
The big surprise last Sunday was after scoring one of the best goals ever seen at St. James Park in its 120 year history as the home of Newcastle United (in the game against Blackburn) – that still wasn’t enough to get him a starting position last Sunday against QPR.
And on Sunday Ben Arfa made a big difference to the side after he came on in the first half, and helped the lads get all 3 points against a rejuvenated QPR under new manager Mark Hughes.
Alan Pardew has again talked about Ben Arfa to the local press today:
“The challenge is still for Hatem to get in this team.” “His energy and his workrate needs to improve – I make no bones about that.”
“The goal against Blackburn will do him no harm at all.” “As good a player as he is, he still needs confidence and goals.”
“He scored at Bolton, and he scored against Blackburn here in another cameo.” “He’s been injured for a year – people forget that.”
“We’ve got to make sure we get that talent on the pitch more than we’re getting it at the minute.” “He’s given us another option, and it’s something we’ll be looking at.”
“There are players who have become legends in this country – Ronaldo, for example – who have taken their time to understand what this division’s about.”
We still think Ben Arfa has a very good chance of becoming a great player for Newcastle, and the fact that he seems to be listening to what his manger is saying is a very good sign.
And give the lad credit, he needs some time to get used to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League, and he’s also coming back from that terrible double fracture of his left leg.
Quite honestly we think Ben Arfa is doing just fine, but he will again likely start on the bench at Craven Cottage with Pardew likely to start the same side as against QPR.
That’s assuming Yohan Cabaye is fit, but that looks to be the case.
There’s a chance he could start as second striker to Leon Best on Saturday, but we think Pardew will stick with Shola Ameobi, who is due a goal for Newcastle.