Hatem Ben Arfa Keen To Shed That Bad Boy Image

25-year-old Ben Arfa has been interviewed in the Sunday Mirror today, and he says he thinks he has improved as a person and gained some maturity while on Tyneside.

Hatem Ben Arfa – dropped that bad boy image

Ben Arfa has had a difficult season, with not too many starts in the Newcastle first team, but we’ve been impressed with the lad’s commitment, and the fact that he hasn’t complained about things, but just got on with doing his job.

He has scored 4 goals and has three assists in his 24 appearances for Newcastle so far this season, and will likely start on the right wing in today’s home game against Norwich City.

This is what the former Lyon and Marseilles player said:

“I am happy that I’ve not got that bad-boy tag any more.” “I have gained maturity. We all ­improve in life and I feel that I did. We all do bad things in life but then we have to rectify them and get better.”

“There was big pressure on me in France. But it is part of life and I take ­responsibilities for that status.” “It was good to come to England. I feel less of the pressure that there was in France.”

“When you’re a ­football player, you want to be on the pitch. But I ­carried on with training, getting fitter and trying to get better.” “Alan Pardew told me to keep training hard.”

“He ­insisted that I was here for training all the time – the more you train and the better you train, the more likely I was to be on the pitch.” “I have been waiting for an ­opportunity to play games. Now it is here, I want to make the most of it.

“It is a 90-minute energy that you need in England. The coach and the staff put that philosophy into us all the time and it helps. But the coach lets me play my game. I feel good here.”

Ben Arfa has not been part of the French squad since he arrived on Tyneside, but of course he suffered a terrible double fracture of his left leg in early October of 2010 at Manchester City, and has come back from that well, and shown ample courage and fortitude along the way.

And he is the scorer this season of probably the best individual  goal ever scored at St. James’ Park in its 120 year history, and it was against against Blackburn Rovers in January,  when he beat four or five players before rifling the ball home with that wonder left foot of his.

And his goal last Monday night against Arsenal wasn’t too bad either.

His double ambition  through the end of the season is to get Newcastle into ­European competition for next season, and to also be included in the French squad for the European Championships this summer in Poland and the Ukraine.

Ben Arfa continued:

“Of course I have to be playing for ­Newcastle and doing well to make the French team.”  “If my performances are good enough, I can be part of the French team. I think the next 10 matches are important for ­Newcastle as far as a ­European place goes.

“The character and personality of the team will be very important in these 10 games. I really hope we can make it into ­Europe.”

And it seems that Alan Pardew has done an excellent job in the way he has man-managed the mercurial player, and Alan paid his compliments to Ben Arfa:

“Hatem has shed his bad-boy image. He has been ­exemplary here. He is low maintenance, trying to learn, trying to understand the way we play.”  “It hasn’t been that much of a ­challenge for me.”

“Last year, when he was injured and frustrated, we had a few problems trying to get his mind ­focused.”  “He is now in a place where he knows it is a very important part of his ­career and he knows he has good people around him.”  

“Maybe being out of France has helped him because he is a ­high-profile player there.”  “When you have the ­talent that he has, ­everyone expects you to produce it all the time and you can’t.”  

“But if he keeps putting the work-rate in, he will produce the ­moment like he did at Arsenal – and hopefully he can do it again against ­Norwich.”

Hatem  Ben Arfa is in his best form ever for Newcastle at the moment,  as he adjusts to the faster paced English game, and he is also now willing to do the work that Alan Pardew requires of any player who wears the Newcastle shirt these days.

Ben Arfa can score goals out of nothing and seemingly from any position on the field,  and we’ll need some goals today,  if we are to get back to our winning ways against a good Norwich City side.

Maybe Ben Arfa can oblige with another goal today.

Comments welcome.

14 comments so far

  • Brutooon

    Mar 18, 2012 at 12:47 AM

    Comment #1

    love HBA so much…hope he improve and will be a legend to the club

  • JP...from The Rock

    Mar 18, 2012 at 1:15 AM

    Comment #2

    If HBA keeps progressing at this rate he will be a legend as the likes of Ginola. I love the kid and I always look for his name before the others on the starting line up. He’s so exciting on the ball and is clearly showing a willingness to improve on and off the pitch. On the pitch he’s playing brilliantly going forward and helping out at the back. He could learn a few basic tricks to win the ball from captain Colo as HBA was really trying to win the ball but some of his tackles were easily avoided but what I loved was that he never stopped trying. That’s not really part of his game but if you want to become the best like he does then it’s a skill he has to learn to improve his all round game. Attacking wise he’s amazing. Dribbles with more confidence with every EPL game he plays and is mixing the simple things with the sublime skills he possesses.

  • JP...from The Rock

    Mar 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    Comment #3

    Pardew has man-managed him perfectly. Next season will be HBA, Cisse and Marveaux’s season. Right now in these last few games it’s a chance for both HBA and Cisse to learn all they can from the English game and their team-mates movements on the pitch which in turn will better prepare them for next season. If we sign well that I am certain we will we will be top 6 next year for sure and maybe higher. This year we have a great chance and with HBA in form at the right time anything is possible.


  • t00ntime

    Mar 18, 2012 at 2:22 AM

    Comment #4

    I dont know why but ben arfa has been my favorite player for the last 5 years!

    theres something about him and his way of play that just excites me in a way I wasnt before him (I’m not that old lol)

    when ever he scores I chear longer and I’m more excited, I dont know why but I just love him as a player

    Hopefully he plays good for the next 10 games so he can get his international carrer back on track.

  • Baro

    Mar 18, 2012 at 3:35 AM

    Comment #5

    vs Norwich






    If simmo is not fit than slide ryan taylor into right back spot, if tiote not fit bring guthrie into that role, or leave perch down in front of defense the whole game, and give cabaye attacking role.
    Either way we really need 3 points this game….


  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 18, 2012 at 5:39 AM

    Comment #6

    exciting player! he makes things happen and he can score! played very little and he already has many goals. imagine with games …

  • ilovetoon8788

    Mar 18, 2012 at 6:38 AM

    Comment #7

    did anyone catch the swansea fulham game yesterday?
    swansea played fulham off the park yesterday. brilliant football. with our players and if we play that standard of football we would be chasing the title.

  • swoopingmagpie

    Mar 18, 2012 at 7:10 AM

    Comment #8

    It’s a pity Pardew couldn’t man manage a centre half or two to get us further up the league. At this rate the season is looking like a damp squib which is how last season ended – remember.

  • check the toastie

    Mar 18, 2012 at 7:59 AM

    Comment #9

    Dont think pardew has managed him that well at all, should have been in the team since Man City away game instead of the likes of Obertan and Raylor, fair enough he is working on workrate but personnally think he has done enough whenever he has pulled on the shirt, him not being in our side the last 4 months has cost us a fair few points.

    Just pleased he hasnt spat his dummy out as he has had good reason for me, he is world class and cant get in for Raylor. This is whilst we have been playing sh1t by the way.

    Pardew concerns me, today is a test to see if we are on a downward slide or not, if we dont win, we are struggling for top 8 in my opinion.

  • cyprus

    Mar 18, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Comment #10

    check the toastie,
    Good points there.

  • reverend-of-toon

    Mar 18, 2012 at 8:37 AM

    Comment #11

    Im just lookin forward to seeing him sitting behind Ba or Cisse as he will cause mayhem. He should have been their instead of Obatan against Arsenal as i reckon we would have had the bit more edge to our attack but i am not going to pick faults as he and the rest of the squad have been superb. Even if we dont get europe this season it doest concern me to much as it was never expected but next season it will be definitely achievable. HWTL!!

  • SBergenwall

    Mar 18, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    Comment #12

    I don’t know why it’s always so much talk about HBA. I know he’s a good player but I support AP’s decision not to have played him that much because he hasn’t performed that well and his workrate and defensive part has not been that good. Except the last couple of weeks where I think he’s been excellent and deserves a place in the starting line-up.

    I don’t get all the hate against AP either.. I know in some games his tactics has been frustrating but remember, if it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t have been anywhere near top 6-7 Just saying…

  • Beattie25

    Mar 18, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    Comment #13

    Cheik the Toastie

    Spot on there

  • Beattie25

    Mar 18, 2012 at 8:49 AM

    Comment #14


    Load of shite


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