Ben Arfa is starting to show at Newcastle just what a special player he is.
Ben Arfa – after scoring great goal against Bolton
But those in French football have known for a long time that Hatem Ben Arfa had mercurial talent, and he was well regarded when he came on loan to Newcastle from Marseilles in August of 2010.
At the time he had a bad boy image, and was having trouble with his Marseilles coach, Didier Deschamps, who captained France to a 3-0 win over Brazil int he 1998 World Cup Final in France.
But of course the 25 year-old’s terrible injury he picked up at Manchester City in early October of 2010 didn’t help things at all, and he was out of the game almost a year recovering from the injury.
Alan Pardew seems to have turned Ben Arfa into a better player this season, and the French International is now a hard worker on the field, and does his fair share of defensive duties.
Alan Pardew had this to say about the Newcastle talent:
“It’s a technical ability that can carry the ball at full speed and manoeuvre the ball at full pace. That’s what he showed in his goal against Bolton.”
“There are not many who can go that quickly and manoeuvre the ball exactly where you want it. The great dribblers can do that. But he has got a little bit more in his locker than that. “
“He is quite clever with a pass.” “Gerard Houllier said to me when I first arrived here and we played Aston Villa – he had come to watch Villa – and he said to me he was a precocious talent.”
“One of our special players, and if we could get him anywhere near the talent he has, then we would have a special player.” “That’s how highly-regarded he is in France, and that wasn’t lost on me.”
“But he’s had a bad injury – he’s had a terrible injury – and he has had to work really hard. He has a lot of pressure on him from people around him who expect the special, but he is beginning to produce it and we are the beneficiaries of it.”
Newcastle fans will be hoping Ben Arfa can maintain his form over the last five games of the season.
And if he can, then there seems no reason that Newcastle cannot be back in the European Champions League next season, and if we don’t make that, then hopefully we can qualify for the Europa League.
Qualifying for European competition at Newcastle for the first time since 2006, is just what the Doctor ordered.
And Ben Arfa can help get us there in the last five games of the season.