It was surprising that Ben Arfa even played on Saturday, since Alan Pardew had said he was injured – it was a white lie which is defined as an often trivial, diplomatic or well-intentioned untruth.But a sold out full house of over 52,300 fans at St. James’ Park on Saturday were treated to a sublime performance of skill from Hatem Ben Arfa, and if this lad can keep playing like this, then Newcastle will do extremely well in the upcoming season.
Ben Arfa sends Brad Freidel the wrong way form the penalty spot
Alan Pardew was singing the Frenchman’s praises this morning, and that’s small wonder:
“People talk about passing and moving in the game.” “Actually, though, it is people taking people on that fans really love.” “Ben Arfa was the bright spark in our team.”
“You need a player to sometimes unlock defenses.” “He took people on all day and got both of their central midfield players booked in the first half.” “Then he won us the penalty.”
“The other side to him was he did the job defensively for us.” “He tucked in, put tackles in, won a header and he was disciplined.” “He kept it simple when he needed to and he was definitely the man of the match in my opinion.”
“They are a good side.” “They have great players and you have to remember that.” “It was a big win for as we did not did not manage to beat them last year.”
Ben Arfa didn’t play too much in the pre-seaosn, and he should have been short of match fitness as Yohan Cabaye obviously was on Saturday, but Ben Arfa put on some show so early in the season.
What an acquisition this lad has been for Newcastle, after he forced his move through by jetting over form Marseilles in the summer of 2010, as he only wanted to play for the Magpies.
We’re not sure what Newcastle paid for him, but it’s anywhere from £2M to £5M, but he’s been a bargain buy and he’s just what Newcastle fans want to see, and follows in the footsteps of great French left wingers who have graced the St. James’ Park turf, including David Ginola and Laurent Robert.
It’s another good but for Newcastle at a time when clubs are still overpaying for their transfer targets. Robin van Persie is an excellent striker but is he worth £25M when he had one year left on his contract and would have been available for nothing next summer?
Remember that we got Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse through the door for less than £10M between them, and that’s what Newcastle are so good at these days, getting good deals.
And that’s even if the summer transfer window can be just a little stressful and agonising for some Newcastle fans.
As a comparison Papiss Cissee and Demba Ba scored 29 league goals between them last season for Newcastle and Robin van Persie scored 30 goals at Arsenal.