I Can’t Fault Him – Ben Arfa Was Terrific

There are real signs the Hatem Ben Arfa is becoming a better player at Newcastle.

Ben Arfa – shhhhhhh – I just scored again!

For one thing his work rate has increased significantly in recent games,  and on Monday night,  not only did he score a brilliant goal, but he worked hs socks off for the Newcastle side.

That’s what manager Alan Pardew insists  from his players,  and if they are not willing to track back and work hard, then they don’t get a starting position next time out.

And that has happened with Ben Arfa more than once this season, when he has put in a  so-so performance and found himself dropped for the next game.

But the French lad  is showing he can always create goals out of nothing,  and it seems that manager Alan Pardew was happy with everything he did on Monday night in London:

“I can’t fault him – I thought it was terrific.” “It was a great goal at Arsenal, and his workrate was terrific.” “You have to say that.”

“It was just a quick shot.” “If a player takes a quick, early shot like that, the keeper ain’t set it’ll cause problems.”

“It was a good goal. He had a chance in the second half right near the end, and I thought he was going to do it again. He just took it across the box.”

“He’s got that in him – he can win games from nothing.

It seems that Alan’s message is getting through big time to Ben Arfa, and he is now wanting even more from the 24 year-old, whose mercurial skills have never been in question.

We still think Ben Arfa can become a big big player for Newcastle, and at his best he resembles the best player in the world over the last three years  – Lionel Messi.

The only thing that’s missing from Ben Arfa’s game is the work-rate the Argentine puts in game in and game out.

Lionel plays like little kids play football in the park – with so much enthusiasm and energy – and he seems to love playing football and Messi is a wonderful example to youngsters.

The one weakness in Ben Arfa’s game – his work rate – is now improving – and quickly too.

Comments welcome.

23 comments so far

  • martoon

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Comment #1

    Struggling for subjects today Ed? Third Ben Arfa blog today 😉

  • ross armstrong

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #2

    this player has GOT to play every game for him !! i am sick of hearing people say he looses the ball too much!! dont the other players do the same??!! he is a match winner and is doing a fantastic job on the right!! it annoys me when i see raylor get right spot b4 him as benny is 100x better player!!!!! plz plz pardew play benny and we will get more points !! my team v norwich

    simp col wilo santon
    benny tiote cab jonas
    ba cisse

  • North Atlantic Magpie

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Comment #3

    We need to attack more and keep attacking because when we do HBA will come alive and win games for us.

    Too often Pardew decides to stop attacking and hoof the ball up field instead. That’s when we don’t get what we want out of HBA.

    When HBA plays bad is all down to poor Pardew tactics.

    Our best defence is attack bacause when we get under pressure Willo or someone else will do something stupid in defence.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #4

    The biggest and the best attacking outlet we have at this club. There was a video of his game against arsenal. He didn’t hoof the ball up even once the whole game. Always playing the short pass. He could turn out to be 1 of our best players ever if he works hard and get games.

  • thepict

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #5

    Has a big future at our club. This young man can genuinely go on and become a world class player.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #6

    is he our 2nd top scorer for us?

  • phoonck

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:13 PM

    Comment #7

    Just my 2 cents worth, I’d like to have this line-up for next match at home to Norwich:

    ———Ben Arfa——-Cisse————Ba————

    Why Krul between the sticks: Need I say more?

    Why go for Williamson and Coloccini partnership: Coloccini, one of the best central defender we’ve had for years, and Williamson is the only backup defender we have, and something must be wrong with Kadar’s attitude hence wasn’t even considered for bench. I say we get behind Williamson and give him our support!

    Why leave Simpson out: If Simpson is set to leave in the summer, then I say let’s start to find our defensive line up without him. Don’t get me wrong, if you had read my previous post, you’d know I’ve backed him for what I think was an outstanding performance from him at The Emirates. I just felt if its almost certain he is to go, then why not shuffle the back a little and find an alternative cover for him?

    Why Gutierrez at LB and Santon at RB: Gutierrez is well recognized for his defensive abilities and tracking back with unbelievable energy, and since crossing and creativity isn’t his strongest, with Maradona also fitting him at a FB position, why not try him out at LB? Santon looks good going forward too, and so maybe, with he’s right leg and bursting runs, he might be a threat down that right side of the field.

    Why a Tiote-Guthrie-Cabaye midfield trio: Tiote, as the anchor man to stop oppositions’ attack down the middle, is a no-brainer. His work-rate, tackling and never-say-die attitude is immense, a Batty-like in the making. Guthrie’s range of passing would compliment Cabaye’s quick passing style. Cabaye, the box-to-box midfield general who would dictate the pace of the game, with Guthrie looking to spot the off-the-ball movement of our attackers from far.

    Why Ben Arfa and Ba to be the wing forwards with Cisse the target man: Ben Arfa, as he has shown, gives the game new attacking options with his direct runs at defenders, as one commentator said ‘he simply glides along the pitch with ease’, will allow him to round defenders from the right flank into the 12 yard box or cut the inside channel and shoot with his amazing left foot. Ba likes to drop deep and get the ball from midfield, which will give him more space to roam, being the more technical player than Cisse. Cisse should be the target man, as he is fast and has an eye for goal, the fox-in-box type.

    Still, its just my 2 cents worth. Not saying Pardew should use this formation as I’m one of those who can’t stand those Football Managers Wannabe, but just want to share my idea with fellow fans here, and I always respect Pardew’s selections with trust. What do you think?

  • pbNcl

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Comment #8

    Ben Arfa is already a legend. Simple as that

    I think he’ll be a starter next season, when the team can provide the firm foundation somebody like benny craves. You don’t want him chasin shadows

    I do hope he features strongly for these last 10 games tho, cos we need to go out there like a pack of madmen! Its all to play for

  • Jonny

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:19 PM

    Comment #9

    Quality player, but lets not get ahead of ourselves and start comparing him to the greatest player ever in some people’s views.

  • martoon

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    Comment #10

    phoonck @7 – I like your team but knowing Pardew it will more likely be ross armstrong’s @2.

  • Klatoon

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #11

    Ah,another line-up with Jonas at LB followed by “maradona…”

    will it ever stop? 🙂


    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #12

    How is Ben Arfa already a legend?

  • Jonny

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #13

    I can see Ameobi getting a start on Sunday!

  • Hoovernose

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Comment #14

    Clearly a talent but has absolutely nothing to offer defensively. He is better on the bench where he can be brought on to score goals when we are losing. He is a passenger when we do not have the ball, that makes him a non starter in the prem. Regretfully we are not good enough to compensate for his lack of tackling. He is a selfish forward player, good but not that good for the team. James Milner was and still is a way better player. Sorry to rain on the parade.

  • Irie-Magpie

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #15

    @Phoonck here was mine from previous post
    Irie-Magpie // Mar 15, 2012 at 2:27 PM


  • BeeGuy

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #16

    I appreciate Ap wanting to go for the win Monday. So leaving H B-A on was OK.

    If AP was satisfied with the tie, he could have taken H B-A off, moved Obertan to the wing & put Guthrie in the middle, letting Cabaye lay back where he is happiest.

    H B-A still needs work on his defense, and if he studies the films, I think he will see he can do a lot more with very little extra effort.

  • billy

    Mar 15, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #17

    Under the pillock pardew we will be relegated next season and all the decent players will be gone this summer and he can sign shite like mariappa!

  • Hoovernose

    Mar 15, 2012 at 3:09 PM

    Comment #18

    I agree Bee Guy HBA has a lot of work to do defensively. He seems scared of a tackle or maybe a yellow card or probably another broken leg. Shola and Ba put many tackles in and showed they have a lot of commitment to the team. HBA kind of watches the action and waits for someone to win him the ball. Get stuck in Garcon!

  • Munster Mag

    Mar 15, 2012 at 10:54 PM

    Comment #19

    Excellent man management by Pardew, not for the first time either.

  • torbaytoon

    Mar 16, 2012 at 3:17 AM

    Comment #20

    Even though we are at home id still run with 4-5-1
    Cabaye seems like he needs a rest, Raylor for Simmo. Cisse/Oba, Ba and Benny switching it round abit through out!

  • Premiership Manager

    Mar 16, 2012 at 5:34 AM

    Comment #21


    That formation leaves us very weak down the flanks and too big a gap in midfield. It would also leave us without natural width which would mean all you would have to do is block the middle of the park to prevent us scoring goals.

    The problem we have in the team is we have no natural crossers of the ball from wide positions. Simpson can deliver a ball as can Cabaye and Guthrie from midfield however Santon, Guterez and HBA all like to cut in making it easy for most teams to defend against us.

    Cisse when he cuts wide is a very good crosser of the ball however he is weak when it comes to defending.

    Ba IMO is superb and will do everything asked off him.

    I wasn’t a fan of HBA but in the last few weeks he has improved both his work rate, passing and attitude and if he continues to improve AP will not be able to justify leaving him out of the team.

    If Cisse is fit on Saturday AP will have a hard decision to make as I feel we need Ba up front with either Cisse or HBA sitting just behind him. Unfortunately I don’t think we can accomodate HBA, Ba and Cisse in the same team at the moment as we haven’t got the luxury of a solid defence.

    Last week Obertan looked lost at times so my starting line would be:


    Simpson Willo Collo Santon

    Guthrie Cabaye Tiote Jonas



    Norwich gave us a lesson last time and for that reason we need to dominate the midfield without leaving gaps where they could punish us.

  • Rotonda heights

    Mar 16, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Comment #22


    you are a negative so and so, but then you
    think watching barca is boring. It sums you up.

  • davis_toons

    Mar 16, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #23

    Ben Arfa’s is more of a CR7 kinda player which cant do much is defending.


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