Ben Arfa Finds It Difficult To Nail Down Starting Place

Nothing was seen of Ben Arfa yesterday, even though Newcastle were hammered 5-0 by Tottenham.

Ben Arfa – future at Newcastle looks a little murky right now

And Alan Pardew played all his substitutes,  but Ben Arfa was not one of them,  as he gave Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling and Peter Lovenkrands run-outs in the second half.

The last time Ben Arfa played for Newcastle was in the first half at Blackburn a week last Wednesday, when Newcastle were lucky to be 1-0 up at the half, but Ben Arfa did not have a good game, and he was replaced by James Perch at the break.

And it seems to us that Alan Pardew may be starting to think the Frenchman is a liability, especially in the big tough games like yesterday.

And that’s because Ben Arfa loses the ball too much,  but that’s  his style of play, because  he takes on other players.

It seems the right wing is the best spot for the 8 times capped French International, and he has played some good games for Newcastle this season.

And of course he scored that phenomenal goal against Blackburn at St. James’ Park in the FA Cup 3rd round tie.

But Pardew likes his players to work hard and to go back and defend, and that’s one reason his replacement out on the right wing yesterday, Gabby Obertan, was replaced by Shane Ferguson at half time yesterday.

Gabby is not good at going back and defending, although he’s a good player moving forward.

Former Newcastle star Chris Waddle had this to say about Ben Arfa  yesterday:

“Ben Arfa is Ben Arfa. He had the same type of problems at Marseille.” “He is unpredictable on his day, but we have also seen what he can do on other days as well.”

“He scored a world-class goal against Blackburn.” “His problem has always been consistency, he is always in and out.”

“Newcastle fans love people who are passionate about the shirt and show what they have.” “They like players who put their foot in, Tiote is a popular player who plays for the shirt.”

“Newcastle fans love entertainers.”

Ben Arfa is an entertainer, there’s not doubt about that, but he will find it difficult to get a regular place in Pardew’s Newcastle side.

And we think in the next game against Wolves, the fit again Ryan Taylor will be out on the right wing, and Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote will be back in central midfield, in what looks our strongest side at the moment.

Simpson Coloccini Williamson Santon
Taylor (R) Cabaye Tiote Gutierrez
Ba Cisse

And because our goal difference is so poor at zero, we could do with the two lads up front Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba, knocking those goals in when we play against the lesser sides.

We have to remember that Tottenham were in good form yesterday,  and they are definitely one of the top three teams in the country and we are not – not yet anyway.

But it’s going to be hard for Ben Arfa to nail down a starting position in the Newcastle side,  given the way Alan Pardew likes his teams to play.

For the record Ben Arfa played 4 times with one goal last season before his broken leg, and he has 17 appearances with 3 goals and 3 assists this season.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

48 comments so far

  • Brutooon

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Comment #1

    My faV player is ben arfa but i think need to admit he will be sold during the summer

  • Crawfordladd17

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:39 AM

    Comment #2

    Ben Arfa has the most natural talent at the club I think we should let him on Loan but NO option to buy though.

  • Brutooon

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #3

    I like if we play HBA on the left wing because he got santon at leftfback who can defend all by himself

  • Dannyo

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    Comment #4

    We need to replace players like Simmo, Raylor and Willo, with better first team players if we want a proper punt at the top 5 imo. Great squad players and backup where need be, but shouldn’t be starting tbh.
    Obertan has it in him as a super sub, but that’s it for him, imo.

  • fleury14

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #5

    just wondered what did everyone think of cissie yesterday?I know he didnt have much to play off,so cant really judge him till are two top midfielders are back,but his hold up play aint the best the ball just kept bouncing off him,looked a bit week like when ba first come to us,i suppose he just needs time to adapt,but need to get ba in the hole so he can start the attack.Anybody who went to the game could you let me know what hes movemnet was like up top.

  • Doilatoon

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #6

    Ben arfa can be used when Tiote is back,because he takes care of the whole midfield,so ben arfa can be the player we need when we get under pressure and hold on 2 the ball.
    And maybe do magic:)

  • ronaldeano

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #7

    He finds it hard to even get on the pitch as a sub!
    Obertan was crap yesterday do Benny should start against Wolves on the right IMO.
    If we dont see Benny involved against Wolves, I expect him to be sold as its obvious Pardew dosnt rate him or get along with him for whatever reason


    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Comment #8

    Brutooon // Feb 12, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    I like if we play HBA on the left wing because he got santon at leftfback who can defend all by himself

    The match yesterday disagrees

  • Brutooon

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #9

    Cisse look fine considering only him at demba ba is alone at the opposition area.

    Our midfield are static and no support from either wings

  • Zangwill_Ho

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #10

    But most of us really don’t lile Gabby Obertan

  • Brutooon

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #11

    Its a basic in football and in other sports

    If a player didnt perform then we replace him with someone else!

    Obertan and Jonas didnt perform then HBA should play

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #12

    Yesterday was another bad day at the office,a terrible one in fact,but if you look at the bigger picture and see that at this stage of the season we’re only a point off of fourth place then its not been a bad season at all really,we’ve took three real humpings this season,once with no CB’s the second time without a decent strike force and yesterday with our two most infulential midfielders missing,I think this underlines the strength in depth that we lack,and anybody who was in support of Tiote being sold at whatever cost has to really look hard at the results while he has been missing,albeit a few wins but lets face it not the most convincing of victories.

  • spitfire_

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #13

    Isn’t it funny. Benny have 2 shite games and he was put on the bench but on the other hand we have Obertan which played many games this season but when Pardew must speak about his good games… he only said – Stoke. Now it’s interesting to see what will happend with Obertan because Benny was off in the half time against Blakcburn. If Obertan is in starting 11 next game… Houston we have a problem.


    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

    Comment #14

    Raylor will be our RM if he is fit. Offers more to the team than both Obertan and HBA imo

  • wingspan

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #15

    In a wierd twisted way i think that getting smashed yesterday maybe a bit of a blessing because

    we were never gonna win anyway, with the players theyve got and the atmosphere because of harry gettin off was like walking into a bear pit!
    So his now makes Pards decision to bring Chiek and Yohan straight bk into the team against wolves much easier.
    Although im grateful to the job perchy and da$nny have done it was only a matter of time before it got found out im afraid (more perchy than danny) And im glad its away from home to a superior team rather than at home to an inferior wolves team. Because i think if we had drawn nil nil yesterday say, it would of been hard and prob unfair for Pardew to drop them for cheik and cab, and we need them two to be playing everygame from now on if we want to finish as high as possible.

    So every cloud boys, or am i just clutching at straws lol

  • solano

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #16

    It would be good if when we actually get a topic on Ben Arfa, we could actually just ignore it and talk of something else. This might in some way try to redress the balance, given that any thread on any topic Ed has posted in the last month, has ended up a Ben Arfa debate!
    How about we discuss what Delboy and Spurs fan Fatboy Slim found so amusing at White Hart Lane lastnight?
    Or why, since Sunderland fan, Dafty has re-appeared – 6months after another humiliation- many fans actually try to engage him in sensible conversation?

  • fleury14

    Feb 12, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #17

    i think pardew was well pissed off with obertan not sticking to the wing and helping out simmo thats why he yanked him off at half time,he kept wondering into the middle or where ever he wanted to play.Reminded me of the game against liverpool just switches off,he really doesnt have a football brain atal,Least with raylor he has football brain and can read the game so his lack of pace makes up for it and can put a ball in.Would love the midfield of
    hba cabaye tiote raylor, For wolves game,dont think there cause much threat so can afford to have hba in the team.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #18

    With a heed like that he should have a better fooballing brain than Platini and Beckenbauer combined.

  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #19

    That was so pointed yesterday over benny, with pardew being a complete d..k even when we were 5-0 down.

    I thought after a few games like the losses at Norwich, WBA, Fulham, Liverpool, Brighton etc before yesterday’s capitulation, pardew had no plan B whatsoever and just watches car crash tv over and over again, without ever changing anything. But there’s something more, an almost spiteful streak which is proving fatal.

    It’s funny Enrique said when the players were told they had a new manager after CH, it was somebody he had never heard of!

    We have a great player in benny but even dross like gosling gets on before him. Imagine benny in an attractive footballing team like spurs or arsenal, we’d be raving about him.

    Ok we still may not have won or even drawn yesterday , but we just had zero creativity. How many games does Guti get when he never has an end product and talk about giving the ball away, yet he always starts, it really sucks.

    pardew has got us top 6 with a hell of a lot of luck and Ba who has made his own luck as he has had no service. Manu aside, we have never looked convincing in any game.

    yes we’ve got tiote and cabaye coming back but why do we make it so hard for ourselves with this stupid high line when we’ve got super slow and crap defenders in willo and simpson, why do we play long ball, why do we play 442, why don’t we allow our most creative player a game, even from the bench.

    You should always do what the opposition least expects and pardew is the most predictable manager ever. I enjoy watching swansea and managers like Brendan Rodgers and teams like that because they get it down and play. We are barely 1 notch above Stoke.

    Apart from willo and simmo, we have the players, some of who have done well in spite of the manager ,not because of him.

  • Benry

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #20

    Why do we have lots of ugly, useless players like Perch, Obertan and Shola? Not only are they annoying on a pitch, but they are also annoying to just look at! I’m sick of the sight of them tbh.

  • Benry

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #21

    Rotonda-Imagine Ben Arfa in Spurs or Arsenal indeed! That would be something to behold!

  • solano

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #22

    JFA@18…haha! He does have a whoppa nut!
    Bills-son once propounded a theory that if you aren’t good looking, then you’re hindered in your progress at NUFC.
    This is a controversial theory, as it doesn’t take into account the ability to actually kick a football and is somewhat contradicted by Peter Beardsley’s status as one of the best players ever in a black n white strip!

  • JC148

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Comment #23

    Benry you spelt Henry wrong you muppet. Go and read an Arsenal blog if you want players to be pretty.

  • fleury14

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #24

    At the end of the day we had rightback in perch playing cm against the best footballing side in the league,and the toughest home ground to go in my opinion.What did we expect,the cm is the most important position in football and we just dont have one with tiote and cabaye.Would have been a different game with them,how many times have we had cabaye and tiote playing against a top team spurs home and man u home ,drew one and one the other 3-0 justshows you what two op midfielders do to a team.

  • Oleg G

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #25

    I LOVE Jonas as a person in the team. He is a fighter, a warrior , and he is passionate about the game and the gives his all for the team.
    but with all my respect for him, why he is an automatic in every line up? Why HBA cannot replay him? It is better to let him play somewhere than nowhere. So what if he is not a natural left winger. Or put him on the right and put Raylor on the left. Just tell them what to do, give them the order, and they will do it.

    I cannot believe HBA is not good enough for out team. We are weaker in the back, yes, but we are not that great in the midfield either. Cabaye and Tiote are great, but they are not play-makers and are not creative. Actually Cabaye is less creative than I thought he is. He is playing very simple (all the time!) so we have to have a play-maker in the team, a creative player who will make things happen. Yes, put boundaries on HBA, tell him what you expect of him and talk to him after every game about it and explain and teach and improve him. But how is it, that is phenomenal player cannot get a decent run in the first 11?

    I think our midfield can look more like
    Tiote Cabaye HBA and another one
    (not in the order, just the players)
    Or HBA as a player behind the strikers.
    Raylor Tiote and Cabaye in the middle, with Cabaye or Tiote on the more defensive and the other two going forward.

    I mean, we have options, even if the player isn’t playing in his natural position. Players these days (and specially the quality players) can play in many unfamiliar positions.

  • solano

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #26

    Rotonda…your Pardew stance is noted…and you are right on the amount of luck we have carried during the season. The inability to get something out of HBA is quandary that disturbs most of us.
    However, can I ask, is the negativity you show towards our manager now shared in your attitude towards the owner, your hero, who appointed Pardew and has systematically underfunded and undermined the manager and his team and undervalued the great asset that happy paying customers are to a club?

  • fleury14

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #27

    oh and arsenal home drew 0-0 start of season

  • colwell

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #28

    Pards contradicts himself constantly one week saying HBA is too lazy and looses possession alot but then plays Oba and Shola WTF?

    Imho I would stop playing 2 wingers and play Cabaye,Tiote and Jonas/Guthrie in the middle Hba in between the midfield and Ba,Cisse.

    With a player like HBA you play too his strengths so let the Tiotes Cabayes break up play and let HBA do his magic. Why the Fu#k would you sign a player who you know what he’s capable of and try to change him into another Jonas.

    Cisse and Ba had great movement yesterday but our wa#k midfield couldn’t get it too them or any Toon player come to think of it.

  • JackButler

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Comment #29

    Another day and another HBA debate

  • fleury14

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Comment #30

    next games on the 25th are chelsea v bolton(got to say chelsea win)
    arsenal v spurs(be good game can see draw)
    we got wolves should be 3 points,liverpool play cup final so chance to go 6 clear of them then the week after its liverpool v arsenal so there take points off each other.And chelsea away to west brom(who knows what chelsea turn up)And we go scum,so not in bad position to be honst,keep the faith

  • Oleg G

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #31

    Oleg G // Feb 12, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    Just to fix myself there:

    *and he gives
    *cannot replace

  • gorgonzola

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #32

    “Isn’t it funny. Benny have 2 shite games and he was put on the bench but on the other hand we have Obertan which played many games this season but when Pardew must speak about his good games”

    Brilliant commens from Oleg, Benry, Rotonda, Spitfire.

    Been saying the entire season so far, lads let it go… It wont happen Pardew is tacticaly weak manager, and also who says he is good with the youngsters, he cant manage HBA to me at all.

    So best is to make peace he wont be here in the summer. I have already made peace with it, He knows he could be playing football, he knows he can be good, he is wasting time at Tynside in all honesty with players like Perch, Ferguson Obertan starting ahead of him where they would not make a reserve team in France…

    Tooo terrible…

  • geordie157

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #33

    Raylor on the right and Fergs on the left vs Wolves please, both work hard, both track back and best of all both can cross the ball!!! Plus dropping Jonas for a game will also show he’s not a def starter, after at least 3 very lucklustre performances recently. Also I hope Mbwia is signed in the summer, we need one of our centre backs to have some pace.

  • Oleg G

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    Comment #34

    colwell // Feb 12, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    I agree. Why do we have to play with wingers always. It is not like our crosses gave as so many goals this season. Yes, sometimes. But convert that into 3 CMs and 1 ACM and 2 strikers. Those can bring maybe even more?
    And the CMs can spread to the sides as well if needed.

    I think that you are right.
    Jonas, Tiote and Cabaye in the middle (or maybe Raylor in the middle instead of Jonas, or even Ober who is good in an open play when he is running in the middle) and HBA in front of them with two strikers.
    We are definitely not scoring enough goals.

  • gorgonzola

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #35


    Interesting annotation….. play a close 433 up front quite nice…

  • StuW

    Feb 12, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    Comment #36

    I don’t understand why Pardew will not shift from the 4-4-2 or 4-5-1. He has the players in midfield to play a 4-3-1-2, with a three man midfield and Benny in the hole behind Cisse and Ba.

    I say this, because our wingers are not players who get assist after assist like Nani & Valencia. Jonas could be used on the left of CM, drifting wide to stretch opposition. I still think with some training, Obertoon will be a good winger, but he tried to cut inside far too often yesterday, and lost the ball too often.

    Thankfully we have our main players Cabaye, Tiote back next game, which will change our game completely,. All that being said, we missed our chance of Champions League football yesterday. Arsenal will not drop many points between now and May, and I think Chelsea will finish 5th TBH.

    Top 6 is good enough for us this season

  • hodge21

    Feb 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #37

    my team for wovles would be krul simo collo willi santoon tiote cabaye benny fergus demba1 demba2 what you think

  • shpetmeister

    Feb 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #38

    The closest a player that can near Lionel Messi is Ben Harfa, and still he dosent play for Newcastle!! I dont give a shit if he dosent run back to help in the deffence, and so dosent the 99,9% of all Newcastle fans. And i speak for all of them! As long as Ben Harfa plays i dont give a shit if we loose, because he is a world class player!

  • Rotonda heights

    Feb 12, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #39


    if you kept up, you will see that yes I like the things ashley is doing, but his choice of manager dismayed me at the outset then and even more so now and the irony is not lost on me that if pardew goes, then because of ashley we will end up with jfk again or worse

  • solano

    Feb 12, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #40

    Rotonda… Irony! 🙂
    You reap what you sow!
    For me…the manager deserves to be cut a little slack as he just hasn’t been given the funds to assemble a squad that will consistently perform. A decent team on our day, but woefully short of quality in depth.
    The HBA issue – a player of talent and ability – is however posing questions that need to be answered.


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