Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was full of praise for Hatem Ben Arfa, after today’s 3-1 win at West Brom.
Hatem Ben Arfa acknowledges fans after scoring great goal
Hatem had a hand in each of Newcastle three goals today, as he laid on two to Papiss Cisse, who now has 5 goals in 6 appearances for Newcastle, and in between them, Hatem scored a mercurial goal for himself and Newcastle’s second.
So that’s one goal and two assists from Ben Arfa today, not too bad at all, and he had one of his best games for Newcastle before being replaced by Shola Ameobi with just 15 minutes remaining in the game.
Newcastle have now gained 4 points on Tottenham in the last two league games, and are now just 5 points behind Spurs, but that’s really six points because of our inferior goal difference.
With 8 games to go, there is still hope that Newcastle – with a winning streak of games before the end of the season – could even catch Tottenham.
But it’s not something that Alan Pardew thinks is possible, as he talked after the game about qualifying for the Champions League:
“Are we Champions League contenders? I don’t think so. The last 10 games are the most important ones in any season and we’ve won the first two of those.”
“There are a lot of games left, a lot of points. But I don’t think we’ve got the depth of squad to challenge for that a Champions League place. I get told the fans might be thinking ‘this is on’ – but not me.”
Ben Arfa was the official man of the Match of the Match at the game, and he has a massive 88% of our vote for our Man of the Match in our poll.
Alan Pardew wanted to point out that Ben Arfa’s record of being a difficult character when he played in France at Lyon and Marseilles, has not been the case since he’s been on Tyneside since August of 2010.
Alan says the 24 year-old is now much more of a mature person and player, and that he deserves a place in the French squad for the European Championships this summer in Poland and the Ukraine.
This is what the Newcastle manager said:
“There are not many players who can do what he can do and it might be a nice wild card for France to have him in the squad.”
“He really has knuckled down and there is a much more controlled person in his manner and the way he is around the training ground.”
“I can say that publicly so it registers with the French manager. In the past in France there was some reputation that he was an ‘enfant terrible’ but not here.”
“He has been immaculate and especially this season he has really kind of focused and got his mind set in a good place.”
Certainly if Ben Arfa keeps up the form we saw today, he could help Newcastle win a lot more games in the eight games remaining of the season.
Pardew confirmed after the game that captain Fabricio Coloccini will miss next weekend’s clash against Liverpool with a hamstring injury, and could miss three to four games.
But there’s better news on two goal Papiss Cisse, as he had a bad case of cramp, and should be okay to take on Liverpool next Sunday afternoon at St. James’ Park.
A third win in a row is what we’d love to see against Liverpool.
Howay The Lads!!