Ben Arfa – We Can Be Champions – Really?

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?

Comments welcome.

Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and +1 us on Google+



535 comments so far

  • Rowan Milsted

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #1

    Hope we get him fit soon, not quite sure why he’s so far behind with his fitness but it’s a shame as this is HBA’s chance to build on the 2nd half of last season and have an absolute stonker. Pards has instilled the work ethic, he still has the flair and is fairly versatile. This really could be a massive season for him.

  • Graeme

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #2

    Nothing like a bit of raw ambition eh lol.

    Maybe Champions is just a little out of our reach, but Champions League?? lol, we can but dream

  • jonny-intense

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #3


    I agree entirely with your post on the previous article.

    A CB and ST are what we desperately need (we may get one or the other for now though). If, god forbid, Colo or Ba/Cisse get injured then we are struggling. I’d like to see a capable youngster be able to come in for them, if needs be, rather than another high profile signing. We have some excellent youngsters so they should be given a good go this season. Some did well last, most will do better this season in the cups and next season they will be knocking along even further with all the experience.

    Good, like Bassong, may be the perfect guy to fill in for 1 or 2 games or a short injury – we’ll just have to wait and see.

    I said after the match on here last night that it’s a shame Ranger isn’t in contention or applying himself enough to get back there (whatever may be going on). We need someone like that to come in for our first teamers personally.

    If we help our youngsters along , with one or two smart experienced additions, we coudld have a very, very strong squad in one or two seasons. Could even see a cup double really.

  • jonny-intense

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #4

    knocking = coming – silly me, edited myself.

  • pappiscisse9

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #5

    Iv’e heard it all now like!!!!

  • Super Magpie

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #6

    Hatem’s very ambitious isn’t he? Didn’t he say this last season after we beat Everton and went on a winless run?

    There is no chance that we will win the league, CL at a push, but with all the extra games ( and with this current squad) I think we’ll do well to qualify for the EL again.

  • Beattie25

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #7

    Why not indeed Benny?!

    We have the making of an amazing team!

    Just a little investment and in 2 years who knows?!

  • Londtoon

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #8


    At least he says he loves this club and respects the management teams decision. This is massive progress from his Ligue 1 days.

  • DannyA

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #9

    haha i think Hatem has been sucked into the silly season mentality lol fair play 2 the lad he has bags ov ambition cant fault him

  • jonny-intense

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #10

    If Hatem has this sort of confidence in those around him then that can only be a good thing. It may be a little far fetched for this season but we are a young squad who are only going to get better. I hope he is his mercurial best this season as he can inspire us to great things up front.

  • NotAGhostToon

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #11

    Good lad benny boy, keep the optimism flowing!
    This time last year benny got laughed at for suggesting we’d finish in the top 4, so based on that we’ll finish 2nd! Seriously though, I think for this to be even a remote possibility we’d have to drop out of the cups early or at very best be using a completely different 11 for the cups. I’ll go with 6th/7th and a cup final. Wouldn’t complain about that either!

  • nufc786

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #12

    As long as you’re going to be thinking anyway, think big………….. who knows benny?????? perhaps given a bit more time and investment….

  • jonny-intense

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Comment #13

    We could use a second XI for the cups (providing we bedded in a bit of experience in there like Willo/Perch etc.) as we have bags of younsgters that are raring to go. They only learn if they are playing first team football and a decent enough cup run with them (plus 1 or 2 loans after Jan) would see us right for next season.

  • Constanstine

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #14

    I think he owes so much to AP and the staffs. They simply took him out of his lala land and taught him so much. Would love to see this lad for the next 4-5 years.

  • tdt

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #15

    I suppose if you don’t aim high enough then you’ll never achieve it, but it’s more realistic to say that we can achieve a top-4 finish, and there’s no reason why not if we play well enough and get some luck with injuries.

    However, imagine if a man u, chelsea or man c player came out and said “we want to achieve a top-4 finish, we think we can do it”. Everyone would say they lacked ambition! My point being that if you don’t ‘go for gold’ you’ll never get.

    Maybe one day HBA! I think stability over several years is half the battle in the PL unless you chuck £100M’s at a squad like chelsea/man c. The other half of the battle is sensible investment in youth over the long-term that can allow your long-term manager to maintain and improve the 1st team squad indefinately.

    That’s exactly what man u have done for the last 15-20 years, and it’s what we need to keep doing to become a perminent fixture in the top quartile of the PL. The odd one or two additional 1st teamers per window will also boost the process and lower the risk of relying on young players to step up when they’re needed.

  • King Arfa

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #16

    any updates on Remy or was it sum 1 spreading dirty horrible rumours around as per where we even lookin at the lad?

  • cyprus

    Aug 8, 2012 at 11:53 AM

    Comment #17

    Good work Ed,
    As always. Lots of reports in a period which is deader than a door nail! Comments: 3 players at 1.5 mil is great, yes, but where are the senior players? No players left, great,I admit, was (is?) worried about big money ooffers for the likes of Ba and Cisse.On Ben Arfa: Can he be our spokesman rather than AP? Love the words coming out of his mouth. (i.e. rather than ‘we must educate the fans’ ‘we must educate the fans’, ‘we’ll be happy with 8th’ I prefer the gung ho spirit of his)!

  • Rowan Milsted

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #18


    Exactly, we’re not talking massive stellar signings here, just established, experienced players who will strengthen our squad, play their part in the long season ahead and help develop the young emerging talent we have. CB and striker are the 2 big ones for sure. We could even sign a young striker for a reasonably low fee and bring him along under Ba and Cisse for a year or two, but I’d like to see a more experienced CB partner Colo while Good and adjusts to the EPL and Tavernier continues to develop. I’d keep Willo as cover; for me Perch is better at CDM or possibly FB. I reckon he’ll play a lot more this season, probably in cup games.

    Just what is happening with Ranger!? Concentrating on him as a footballer I’d say he has raw potential and is a handful on his day. He’s rough around the edges and his game still needs to improve – as it would have done by done if he wasn’t such a twit off the pitch – but there’s something dangerous about him that I like. He’s almost exactly the sort of ‘new striker’ I’m talking about, but he comes with more baggage than Heathrow airport.

    I’d be happy if the Anita + Van Der Weil (sp!?) double signing story is true, but like you and so many others I’d still worry about lack of depth in the CB and striker department. Like you said, we have the makings of a truly great team here, but we really need those 2/3 additions to tie the whole project together.

  • quitesimple

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Comment #19

    i personally would be very happy if the team v spurs was…

    Ben Arfa/Cisse/Ba

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #20

    Champions ?. Cocains a hell of a drug 🙂

  • rainrix

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #21

    To be fair last season he said we could get into the champions league and we nearly did :). Still not holding my breath. In terms of squad I’m not to unhappy with what we’ve brought in. As long as Saylors fir enough to start and play the whole game we should have our strongest squad out. We still almost certainly need a FB CB and ST. Although I’m sure pards knows this he isn’t stupid. As a result don’t listen to anything pards says about transfers. He’s lied in just about every window he’s been here so i have no doubt the right amount of players will come in.

  • peterrwrightt

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #22

    Champions? maybe in a couple of years Hatem… buying some more senior players would be helpful first though

  • Rowan Milsted

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #23

    On HBA, I truly believe he loves it here and loves the way the fans treat him. Pards man managed him brilliantly last season, taught him the Newcastle way of playing, made him stronger and more determined, made him work harder and fight for his place. I remember someone saying that we should have played him more right from the start, and that if we did then we would have got CL football. I disagree. I think Pards was right to hold back on him for the first half of the season and teach him to play the way he wants. It’s made him a much better player and as Constanstine says, it will be great to watch him in black and white for years to come. Here’s hoping! Now get fit Benny…

  • Indian Magpie

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #24

    Now, I said i will not post,


    what happens if Senegal qualify for ACoN, we are done if we are stuck with u know who for a crucial period, the momentom of which cd define season.


    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #25

    Morning guys,

    Nice to see benny having a good laugh mind, he’s one ambitious lad but that’s great. Build on a few positions in defence and a nice backup striker.
    Can’t wait to see what this season brings

  • Toonarmlee

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #26

    Is it just me or does this blog have its king posters? The same people every day having a go if some1 else’s view is a bit different 2 thers. This blog is being killed by a hand full of bloggers who feel the need 2 jump in fact love the chance to jump on sum1 if ther views nt the same as thers. U know exactly who u r. Dont have the chance to read all articles and posts but everytime i read a few posts it’s the same people having a go. A swear this blog is full of Alan pardews who work in factory’s, building sites and offices. If ur views a bit different fair enuf but it doesn’t mean it’s rite.

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #27


    from previous thread

    Totally agree about the dominating CB but I’d rather Tav than Perchinho as 3rd/4th backup
    Remembering Norwich away for one.

    Perch is fine as DM. In fact if his development continues next season then he may

    Willo is 3rd choice and okay as journeyman but always scares me with the shirt tugging, getting turned and backing off.

    Kets….we all know you hate Willo and Simmo and will never give either player any credit at all so your opinion counts for very little as you are unreasonably biassed against them…. nuff said

    Happy with Pards 1-2 bluechip players, ideally 3.

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #28

    * Perch may get 20-30 games there with loads of fixtures etc.,

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #29

    tdt @ 15

    Spot on

  • ilovetoon8788

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Comment #30

    Can I have some of what he’s smoking

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #31


    That’s why Ruddy dropped out the blog. Took a real slagging off for some comments on KK as a manager last week.

    Also a lot of guys on here do not understand irony or sarcasm. Ibiza, Beattie and Ruddy all post real sarcastic stuff

  • jesperfuglsang

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #32

    This season is going to come down to consistency, injurie and luck not just for us but for other teams as well.

    We finished 5th last season because of that; while we weren’t playing great for most of the season neither was most other teams.

    But the good thing about this season is that we basically have the same team, no real injuries so we just need some luck B-)

  • MagpiesFlyHigh

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #33


    Good to see you posting, hope its not a troll using your good name

  • valle

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #34

    As old Bobby said “It aint beyond our wildest dreams, because we do have wild dreams”

  • davybtoon

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    Comment #35

    cwarr at it again says carroll will b joining us


    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #36


    I’m pretty sure deadline day will bring Carroll home 😉

  • jesperfuglsang

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #37

    Sure it will 😉

  • AshtreeKid

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #38

    Davy, does expand on that with any detail or is it just a vague opinion? Also anyone know where I can get highlights of last night game?

  • davybtoon

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:34 PM

    Comment #39

    i can see him comin back on deadline day like, with west ham bidding 17mill makes me think we hav got a 25% sell on clause coz our offer was only 13mill

  • AshtreeKid

    Aug 8, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Comment #40

    I think £15m cash would be enough

1 2 3 14

You must log in to post a comment.