There’s no doubt that Ben Arfa is behind the rest of his team mates in terms of physical fitness at the moment, and after the game last night Alan Pardew seemed to doubt whether the Frenchman would be ready for the game at Tottenham, a week on Saturday.
Ben Arfa in action last night at Hartlepool United
The mercurial French International has given an interview in the Evening Chronicle today, and he again comes across very well indeed, and says he will do exactly what the Newcastle coaches tell him to do – and that it’s completely their decision whether he makes that first game against Spurs.
This is what he said in today’s interview, when asked if he thought he’d be fit for Spurs:
“I don’t know. It is up to the manager and the fitness coaches. They will make the decision.” “But I’m ready to be on the pitch or the bench – no problem. I will do what the manager says to me.”
“I am very happy to stay here. I’m happy to be back at Newcastle again.” “I love this club and the supporters. I love them and they like me.” “It is very good for me to see the fans here.”
“Everybody wants me here. They told me to ‘come on’ and encouraged me. It is great support for me.” “All the players have stayed here.” “I think we have to have confidence as we have very good players.”
“Maybe if we feel very good we can finish between fourth and first.” “Why not? Why can we not say we could be Champions?” “Maybe? Anything is possible.”
“We can challenge for it. We have good players, a good stadium and great supporters.” “We have to have confidence. I believe we can do what I say.”
It’s a bit of a stretch that Newcastle can come anywhere near to becoming Champions of the Premier League, and maybe five years or so ago we could have agreed with what Hatem has said above, but that relegation kind of knocked some reality into us, big time.
But of course last season shocked us all, and Newcastle seemed to catapult themselves to be one of the best sides in England again, and we’re still pinching ourselves to make sure it was all real.
5th position was just great, but we think it will be much harder to maintain that kind of position in the league in the coming season, with clubs like Liverpool and Chelsea almost certainly going to be much better than they were last term.
And we have to remember that those two clubs finished below Newcastle in the league last season.
But one thing is for sure, and that’s if we improve next season as much as we did last term, we could be challenging for the Premier League title, as unlikely as that may seem right now.
But there’s a big if in there.
What do you think?