Over the summer Ben Arfa seems to have got himself into a little trouble with the France manager Laurent Blanc at Euro 2012, and new manager Didier Deschamps left him out of his first squad last week against Uruguay, and after we thought that Ben Arfa would not even make the Newcastle squad yesterday because of injury, he not only started but was Newcastle’s best player (again) and was the difference between the two top sides.
Hatem Ben Arfa – great shot of the Frenchman after scoring yesterday
The fact that the Frenchman is way ahead in our poll for Man of the Match, with over 63% of the vote, is not surprising, because the fans just love this player, and as Alan Pardew said after the game, Ben Arfa is the type of player who the fans just love to see, and pay money to see.
And of course he’s absolutely right there, and we had glimpses of Ben Arfa’s brilliance in that first half, and at half time we thought Newcastle needed to get the ball more to him in the second half, since he looked in top form, and so willing to work for the side.
With this performance Ben Arfa will hopefully have silenced a few of his critics in France, but we always think that episode at the Euro 2012 was blown out of proportion – yes we know that’s very strange for the press to do that.
Ben Arfa was asked why he kept the ball for the penalty he had earned for Newcastle, when he saw Lennon and van der Vaart in front of him on the left wing, and he stabbed the ball between them, and was clearly brought down in the penalty box.
Demba Ba seemed to be the penalty taker, and he tried to get the ball off Ben Arfa, but this is why Ben Arfa said he wanted to take the penalty:
“I thought I could score and that’s why I shot the penalty.” “I was sure I was going to score. I have confidence and I was sure I was going to score.”
“I feel confident and the team are playing very well, so I’m very happy to play with this squad and this group because there are a lot of good players, and everybody is playing for the team.”
“With everybody, we can do anything.” “I’m a little bit tired now but that’s normal after a game for me,” “But now I’m going to get some recovery. I can’t play on Thursday because I’m suspended from when I was at Marseille.”
“But I’m very happy to win today and I hope we can win against Chelsea as well.” “It’s important to win the first game of the season for the confidence, and we won against a very big team so I think it’s very good for us.”
We hadn’t realized that Ben Arfa couldn’t play in Athens on Thursday night, because he is serving a Europa League suspension, but he will be kept for the tough game at Chelsea coming up next Saturday.
We’ve had a good start to the season, because we already have more points from Tottenham this season than we got from them last season, and of course they finished above us in the league last term.
And it was that great goal from Demba Ba, his first since early February, that sent Newcastle on their way to victory – it was great stuff in the second half from Newcastle yesterday.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org