There were some good things that came out of the game on Saturday at Fulham.
Ben Arfa – becoming Newcastle’s secret weapon
One of them was how very well the lads played in that first half, and of the seven goals scored, Newcastle produced the best two individual goals from Danny Guthrie and Ben Arfa.
Danny got his second goal of the season and his 9th overall for Newcastle, and it was another beauty following his goal in the dying minutes of normal time in the Carling Cup tie at Blackburn Rovers in October, when he scored a similar goal in the second minute of injury time to make it 2-1.
And then Cabaye scored that great goal three minutes later to take the game into extra time.
And Ben Arfa produced another excellent individual goal out of nothing after 85 minutes, as he beat (only) a couple of players (this time), before smashing the ball into the back of the net – that left foot of his is like magic.
That’s the 3rd goal that the Frenchman has scored in his last 5 appearances for the Magpies, and he now has 4 goals and 3 assists for Newcastle in his 19 appearances for the club – and that’s not too bad at all.
Alan Pardew was happy with Ben Arfa on Saturday, and the lad seems to be listening to what his manager is asking him to do on the pitch:
“Ben Arfa was good. He does give the ball away occasionally in difficult situations, but he creates so much.”
“He’s actually more of a positive than a negative – he wasn’t a problem.” “Those type of players weren’t a problem – it was our defending.”
Ben Arfa is getting close to nailing down the right wing spot at Newcastle, which fits his game perfectly.
Ben Arfa will have the freedom to come inside, but he’s producing a good return for the team in terms of goals and assists (and entertainment), and he’s proved he can get past defenders with his exquisite skill.
He’s becoming Newcastle’s secret weapon because whenever he gets the ball, anywhere on the pitch, he can go on and score a goal.
When he goes towards goal, if the defenders come towards him he can go past them, and if they hold off on him, he’s shown he can rocket the ball into the back of the net. Who would be a defender against this lad?
And the 8 times capped French International (with 2 great goals) deserves great personal credit.
That’s not only because of the way he recovered in the year he was out of the game with his broken leg, but also because he hasn’t caused any fuss at all, as Alan Pardew has left him out of the starting line up this season.
This lad could still become a super-star for Newcastle United.