Ben Arfa Injury A Ruse – Magpies To Field Strong Side In Athens

We were shocked when Ben Arfa made the starting line up yesterday, although very happy too, but it seems it was a deliberate ploy by Newcastle manager Alan Pardew to catch Spurs off-guard, and of course Ben Arfa was ultimately the match winner for Newcastle yesterday,  with an excellent performance out on the wing.

Ben Arfa – blows a kiss to the crowd after scoring match winning penalty

Both Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye had been given time off after participating in Euro 2012 for France, and Yohan was a little rusty yesterday, although he didn’t play that bad, but Ben Arfa looked in great form all game.

This is what the Newcastle manager said in the Sunday Sun today:

“For me, Hatem was the stand-out player today.” “He was taking people on in all areas of the pitch and even got two of the Spurs players booked early on.”

“Hatem won and scored the penalty and you need players like this if you are going to do well.” “It was a little white lie by me when I said Ben Arfa wouldn’t start. I don’t tell too many, but that was one.”

“He looked sharp in training. The only thing we were worried about was that he hadn’t had a lot of game time. The more I looked at him, the more I thought he was ready.”

“He really was terrific today.” “I thought we were really disciplined. We weren’t at our best, particularly in the first-half, and tactically it was a really tight game.”

“We kept our two strikers on, which was important, because one of them, Demba Ba, has come up with a truly great goal.” “I don’t think you can under-estimate the importance of this win for us.”

“But he grew into the match and did one great bit of skill down the wing.”

And it was good to Vurnon Anita get into the game, as he came on for Yohan Cabaye after 71 minutes and he had his first taste of Premier League football, and he looked decent enough, but will have to be given time to get used to the faster pace and more physical nature of the English League.

This is what Alan Pardew said about the Dutch International:

“It was a really tight game and sometimes your character and spirit can see you home, and I think we showed that.”  “The other players have been impressed by him in training. His first couple of touches were a little bit indifferent in the game.”  “He was at Ajax for so many years and to come into this atmosphere was really difficult for him.”

We are hoping that Vurnon Anita can play on Thursday night against Atromitos, but Shola Ameobi picked up an injury in the warm-up yesterday, and was replaced by Romain Amafitano on the bench, and the Frenchman will also play on Thursday night.

When you have players like Steve Harper, Sylvain Marveaux, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Vurnon Anita, Romain Amalfitano and Mike Williamson, and youngsters like James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic, Mehdi Abeid and possibly Adam Campbell to come into the second eleven, Newcastle will be fielding a decent side on Thursday evening in Athens.

But one goal for August, is that we must qualify for the group stages of the Europa League and Thursday night’s game in Athens gives a great chance to the youngsters and our fringe players,  to show what they can do in a Newcastle shirt, and also keep them match fit.

Young Adam Campbell scored a first half hat-trick for the Newcastle U21 side against Tottenham in their 6-4 win yesterday, so that will have gotten Alan Pardew’s attention.

And the crowd at yesterday’s game was a sellout – 52,385 – and did you see Anita congratulating Ben Arfa after his penalty – the Dutchman seemed to be loving the white hot atmosphere at St. James’ Park.

I hope my father is watching from up above, because it looks like Newcastle may be on track to follow on from the heroics of last season – here’s hoping.

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27 comments so far

  • BigKirky

    Aug 19, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #1

    Looked sharp yesterday did Benny.

  • Dannyo

    Aug 19, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #2

    Excited for the Euro match. It’s gonna be great. Campbell to be the youngest ever to play in the EL?


    Aug 19, 2012 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #3

    WOW WHAT A SURPRISE! managers and mind games crazy absolutly crazy.

  • nick_9

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #4

    Hotdog, I agree but the lure of a big
    Club going places plus a very good wage must be very appealing at a young age. Most footballers believe they can play at the very top or believe they can force their way in to the team. Johnson already has a winners medal for not doing a great deal. I guess you will see his character over te next year of he stays/ moves on. I remembering having high hopes for Shaun wright Phillips as a youngster.

  • surreytoon

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #5


    Wouldn’t it be something if he scored for fun against the Greeks?

  • Beattie25

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Comment #6

    We find ourselves stood on the precapice of something truly wondeful and yesterday during the 2nd half I could see the makings of a very special team.

    The one thing standing in our way is that little bit extra, that small investment we need to take us to a level where we could really challenge and have no excuse for failure other than ourselves.

    I’d love to sign the final 3 pieces to our jig saw so that not even the biggest neggar could pin point specifics of where we are weakest.

    I hope that we can sign seal and deliver the FB, CB and ST that we need and I think silver ware is a realistic propsition.

  • hattambenarfa

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #7

    Can’t help feeling the team would be so much more complete if we still had jose 🙁 we need a top notch full back without a doubt

  • Tooooon

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #8

    A bit disappointed at Spurs and the medias opinions after the game… apparently we were totally outplayed and we were very fortunate to win. Well 60% of NUFC possession doesn’t demonstrate a team which was ‘played off the pitch’ and AVB clutching at straws saying that his Spurs side “proved that they were the better team” – haha, he’ll be sacked by Christmas.

  • nick_9

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #9

    Spurs got lucky with their goal and we were clinical. We don’t need many chances to score.

    Does anyone know if Anita is cup tied? Can he play any part on Thursday?

  • hotdog

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #10

    nick_9 – Yeah they probably think they can go right to the top but the problem is if they dont. Take bigi for example. If it does not work out for him here, he can move as it was not a masive transfer fee and his wages are affordable. A young player really has to think twice about joining the clubs ive mentioned as nobody can take him away from there if things dont work out.

  • roe997

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Comment #11

    is europa lge on chanel 5 this season?

  • Toon73

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #12

    Team for Atromitos:

    Tav – Perch – Willo – Raylor
    Bigi – Anita
    Oberan – Sammy – Marv

    Subs: Elliot, Gosling, Amal, Good, Campbell, Abheid, Ferguson

  • thepict

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #13

    I feel quite optimistic about this season . Yes we need need to bring in another centre back and full back and possibly a striker. Watched Justin Rhodes the other night and he scored an excellent goal and was unlucky not to get a couple more. Worth a bid.

  • ochytoon

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #14

    They say it’s the sign of a good team when you can play “poorly” and still win.

  • hotdog

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #15

    roe997 – ITV have taken the rights from Channel 5 and it does not look like they are showing, not good as im sure channel 5 would have. I would think there will be a stream for the game though, which somebody will put on here mate.

  • carrollsinger

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #16

    Think it could be espn

  • hatem or love him

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #17

    I thought Anita looked good had a few indecent touches but looked quick and straight to the point. Can see him as a Yaya Toure type attack is a form of defence

  • magpie6699

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #18

    Tooon – lost all respect for AVB as a person last season – I think he is a graceless moron with no manners – not to mention that he needs a personality transplant. Compare Pards, Hughton etc
    If you don’t remember his comment after the Chelsea game last season – we played well but lost 3-0, hit the woodwork at least once and only conceded the last 2 goals in about the last 5 minutes. And of course Luiz should have been sent off – but when he was asked for his opinion about that he said that if he had, Chelsea would have won y more goals – very sarcastic about the Toon. A**ehole!

  • stk85

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #19

    team for thursday:
    tav willo perch raylor
    anita gosling
    amal obertan marv

  • magpie6699

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #20

    And as for Harry Redknapp? Don’t get me started!

  • Mister Tuff

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #21

    I am glad the first game is out of the way with three points in the bag. I think a lot of nerves will be settled somewhat -not playing all that well and still winning is a good sign of things to come. A couple of players slightly off the pace -this will rectify itself naturally -we all know the way Cabaye and Tiote can play -get the cobwebs blown off and we will be ticking along nicely. Assessing different formations is nigh on impossible if players are not “producing” as we know they can. I agree with Beattie25 @6 – I am nervously optimistic with the proviso of a few more bodies through the door.
    hoppernufc on a previous post -commented on the pundits and their views on the toon. Over the last few weeks I have been trawling through various sites to find that snippet of information about our prospective signings. I can honestly say that my impression is that the southern/London based journalists absolutely hate the idea of Newcastle doing well against “their” teams ie Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea -the other impression from others about Liverpool is their supposed right to do well. I think once the Chelsea game is out of the way we will be able to make a better assessment of our prospects for the season -but I remain cautiously optimistic (but with a couple of extra signings)

  • JP...from The Rock

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #22

    Does anyone know when Ben Arfa will be eligible to play in the Europa League since he still has that Marseille ban on him?

  • ~Anita One Bites the Dust~

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #23

    Have we found Marveux yet?

  • Toonarmlee

    Aug 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #24

    What ever happened to Shaun wright-phillips?

  • Da7kside

    Aug 19, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #25

    well fergie does the same all the time, he’s always saying his players are injured and yet they play!!

    well done AP lets try that a few more times this season!!

  • BenBracks

    Aug 19, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Comment #26

    Shola did his hamstring in the warm up yday. Don’t know how long he’s out for!

  • Cowboy Gun - Never Runs Out Of Bullets

    Aug 20, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Comment #27

    Three points for those who want to turn out the academy side against Atromitos. First bullet the senior players fought to get into European competition so they could play in Europe not so the academy could have a day out. Second bullet it is absolutely vital we win this round and them get through the group stages. And last shot anyone under the illusion Atromitos are some pub team need to take a reality check. They are perfectly capable of beating the teams you have listed above. Agree we need to rest some senior players but with them on the bench if we need a plan B. We also need to keep a core of senior players in there to make sure we win the game. And to build experience for when we have to rotate the squad in the EPL.


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