Hatem Ben Arfa showed he is far from being out of the Newcastle picture, with a terrific second half display in a match that mattered on Sunday against Sunderland.
Hatem Ben Arfa – could start next Monday
Indeed his introduction by Alan Pardew on Sunday was a master-stroke and changed the game although the TV commentators were saying in the first half that Newcastle needed to get some penetration down the right wing.
The fact that the French International was warming up in that first half on the touch-line probably showed that Pardew had decided to change the game at the half – and that’s what happened.
After the game Alan had said he knows he has to find some way of including this lad in the team, because at his best he is a game changer, as he showed on Sunday afternoon.
And his goal against Blackburn at St. James’ Park is a strong candidate for the goal of the season.
Manager Alan Pardew again talked about the mercurial one yesterday:
“He was amazing. He’s got that extra-special talent and he showed that.” “Hopefully he can show that more often for us because he is a special player.”
Pardew will have a selection problem at the Emirates next Monday night, but it could even be Davide Santon who misses out, as he was the one that came off at half time on Sunday after having a decent first half display.
Ryan Taylor has become an important player for Newcastle, and he takes most of the set plays, and that’s only one reason the Newcastle manager wants him in the starting line-up.
Yohan Cabaye can also perform those set-play duties of course, but we think Ben Arfa will start next Monday night, but he has to keep up the 100% effort he showed on Sunday – and nobody can accuse him of not putting in a great shift for the side against Sunderland.
Now the 8 times capped French International has to show he can do that in every game, and if he can, he will become a top performer for Newcastle.
That’s what we want to see.