We knew that Ben Arfa knew a lot about Newcastle, when he went on strike from his former club Marseilles in August of 2010, and flew over to Newcastle.
Ben Arfa in action at Bolton earlier in the season
That’s when the French International was despairing that Marseilles would not agree to a move for him to Newcastle, but he was finally brought in on loan later that month.
And then Newcastle manager Alan Pardew had him signed up last January for an estimated £5M to make the deal permanent, even though he was still recovering from the double fracture of his left leg – the good one..
While we don’t expect Ben Arfa to start on Sunday against Sunderland, we think it will be an unchanged team from the one that played Wolves, the Frenchman should get some playing time in the second half against the local rivals.
This is what Ben Arfa, who turns 25 next Wednesday, told the local Newcastle press today:
“For me this what football should be like.” “I find it beautiful in many ways.”
“It’s one of the biggest rivalries that I have come across in football between two sets of fans and two clubs.”
“It is interesting that it exists between two cities.”
It was good to see Ben Arfa brought on in the second half last weekend against Wolves, but it’s just a pity we couldn’t get a third goal to win the game, but Ben Arfa looked decent when he was brought on.
His lack of playing time at Newcastle has not diminished the Newcastle fans’ appreciation of the wonderful play-maker, and the fans were chanting his name in the second half on Saturday, before he was introduced after 65 minutes for the injured Papiss Cisse.
If Ben Arfa does see some playing time on Sunday, it will be his very first taste of the Tyne-Wear derby, and we’re pretty sure he will get playing time on Sunday afternoon.
For the record Ben Arfa has 22 appearances for Newcastle with four good goals and three assists.