It’s Official – Ben Arfa Is A Fantastic Player For Us

The highlight of the season so far for Newcastle is the form of Hatem Ben Arfa, our French International midfielder, and if some of our other top players had shown the same form,  we could have had 9 points from our first three games rather than just four.

Ben Arfa – what a goal on Sunday – it warms the heart!

And Ben Arfa has already got Newcastle at least 3 point so far this season – by first getting the penalty against Tottenham and then scoring from it in the first game that turned a potential draw into all 3 points – and then on Sunday with that simply magnificent goal, scored with his right foot – the one he usually just stands on.

Alan Pardew has no doubts he is the best player at Newcastle right now, so it must be official, as the Newcastle manager had this to say to the local press today:

“Hatem’s really on fire for us at the moment.” “He was the real highlight of the game against Aston Villa.” “He’s just a special talent. He’s been our best player.”

“He’s always been a massive talent in France – his technique sets him apart.” “He’s got great power in both feet, and defenders just don’t know which foot to show him on to. He’s a fantastic player for us.”

“Fortunately for us he’s not with the French squad, so we have him for another couple of weeks. We’ll wrap him in cotton wool and wait for Everton.”

“He scored an absolute peach of a goal.” “It was probably the only way we were going to be that goalie, Brad Guzan – he came in and was a little inspired. You could tell.”

“Some people would have crumbled under that pressure of replacing Shay.” “But he grabbed it by the horns, and looked comfortable – it was going to take a wonder goal to beat him.”

Ben Arfa has in fact played very well all year after a so-so start to last season, after he was coming back from  that terrible double fracture of his left leg.

And he didn’t become a first team regular until January, but he is now playing some of his very best football, and is the type of player who gets the supporters paying their money at the turnstiles to see him play.

We’re not sure how much Ben Arfa cost Newcastle from Marseilles, but the highest figure quoted is £5M – and he’s worth every penny of that – and we profiled three of his goals this morning in an earlier article.

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163 comments so far

  • Shane

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:07 AM

    Comment #1

    We love our mercurial winger, Hatem Ben Arfa. 🙂

  • Widowmaker

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #2

    Amazing player. 🙂

    Never realised he is that good before actually watching him every game despite knowing him for ages thanks to Football Manager. lol

    With him in the team, don’t feel any bits of envy to Barca for Messi, never mind Hazard.

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #3

    Imagine if ben arfa had done well in all aspects of his game on sunday. We’d probably have won. Had he not give the ball away a few times, and had his corners not been so poor, then things could have been so different. The kid is class, but, appart from the goal, he wasn’t at his best on sunday. That must be worrying for other teams, he has a poor game and still gets a goal!

  • Markaccus

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #4

    Its quiet around here at the moment.


    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #5

    Ben Arfa is an amazing player, he would be better if he can be more consistent with corners and possession of the ball. Sometimes he goes missing as well for some parts which he should cut out. He is still our best player by a mile though

  • JackButler

    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #6

    With all the talk about Tiote and Cabaye leaving us during the summer, got to say I was amazed that there was not more attention paid to HBA and Cisse.
    Replacing Tiote and Cabaye would have been a tall order but replacing HBA and Cisse would be close to impossible


    Sep 4, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #7

    Surely Cisse wouldn’t have left after just half a season with Newcastle. And

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    Comment #8

    Why is Hatem on set pieces? They’re invariably dreadful…

  • geordie157

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #9

    Does anyone get to any of the under 21 games, just curious to hear some thoughts about the players we don’t hear much about, like inman, Newton, Nicholson, Hooper, knight, etc

  • Shane

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #10

    HBA and Cabs should not take any set pieces. Ideally they’d be left to Raylor but when he’s not featuring I’m not sure we have anybody else who can take a decent corner/free kick. What’s Anita like??

  • Peter Beardsley

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    Comment #11

    Team for Everton:




  • ~Anita One Bites the Dust~

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Comment #12


    To be fair, Cabaye’s weren’t that good either.

  • ~Anita One Bites the Dust~

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Comment #13

    Ba scored a killer free kick last season.. Just saying…~

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    Comment #14

    “The set-plays were awful,” said the boss.

    “The delivery – we hit the first man five times. That’s why for a coach, it was frustrating. We were really frustrated that we weren’t hitting the areas.

    “We are not brilliant at corners – our record suggests we haven’t got great assets to score from corners.

    “(Mike) Williamson has never scored since he has been here; Steven (Taylor) has only got two or three; Colo (Fabricio Coloccini) hasn’t got many goals.

    “We are not proficient, and maybe we have to re-think about how we are going to score from set-plays.”

    Pardew said the same thing before the summer – surely they’ve had enough time to rethink stuff!

    If we never score from set pieces – which we do not – why do we take long free kicks from anywhere past the half way line? It’s like watching Stoke at times, except we never make anything of it like they do. Just take it short and keep the ball ffs!

  • jayphoto

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #15

    personally don’t think Cabaye is sulking or petulent! Think hes just dangerously short of match practise after next to no preseason! The euros were his first summer tournament, the way he plays means he needs to be top fitness to be effective! Bit different for HBA who covers half the distance cabaye does but no1 notices or mentions it because of how effective he is when he does get the ball!

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    Comment #16


    I know – but Cabaye’s already got a load of stick haha. No one seemed to be mentioning HBA’s, likely because he scored a screamer… but still (;

  • jayphoto

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #17

    sammi’s just tweeted him and shane ferguson are back training with the first team squad! Big plus this, i think both are capable of having big seasons!

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Comment #18


    That’s fantastic news, I’m really hopefully for Sammy in particular this season. We’re so short in out-and-out wingers, hopefully they can provide some competition for Jonas on the left.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #19

    Toon Down south – Pardew is crying out for a huge centre half – just like he was in June! But MA wont invest. Surely people can see his annoyance now???

    Jimmy, u cant say that u know!!!! We’ve needed a big centre half for ages but if you say that MA didnt invest, the baby accountants on this site will come after you with their ledgers and profit and loss accounts!! Colo ball watches quite a bit and always has. Personally i think he’d make a phenomenal sweeper. And this is how it would set up:


    Taylor AN Other

    Anita Tiote Cabaye Santon

    Ben Arfa

    Cisse Ba

    What do you think chaps?

  • jayphoto

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #20

    could see sammy playing as a second striker this season as we’re so short up top! Think we’ve actually got some really exciting young players, one of vuckic, ameobi, ferguson, campbell or Bigi could make a break through and be as good as a 10m signing this season! Might be a little biased and dreaming but I can imagine campbell coming in and getting a few goals and having that impact that Michael owen or wayne rooney had in their first seasons where defenses just didn’t know how to deal with him! Would love him to debut with a hattrick against sunderland 🙂

  • jayphoto

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #21

    just a note, not sure anyones mentioned it, but does anyone think Stevie Taylor looks a little more timid than he did before injury last season?? Seen a few occasions (spurs where defoe hit the post comes to mind) wheres hes stood off where the old taylor would have just taken no prisoners! He’s also only won about 50% of headers hes challenged for whereas last year until his injury no1 in the league won more aerially! Not saying he’s been playing badly, just not sure hes that player from last season that should have been in the england squad

  • tfschmidt10

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #22

    Anita Saylor Colo Santon
    Bigi. Tiote
    Ben10. Cabaye. Marveaux


    Obertans play has been highly encouraging lately and I wouldn’t be surprised if he cracks starters soon… Maybe if we want to start him over Bigi and play only one DM

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #23


    But the fact is that we don’t have a CB who is fantastic in the air, and therefore we shouldn’t be aiming our setpieces at him!

    We can’t build our tactics around a player we don’t have (;

  • cupiddstunt

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #24

    Sorry just playing catch-up on the threads.

    Just a point on the comments about how we should maybe run things like the NBA in fact American sports models i.e. salary caps and draft pick and the likes.

    You have to understand that the yank system as I see it is a franchise led business which is completely different from the way sport teams outside the usa work.

    In the UK we had football teams starting up just because one group of guys played another (generally one works against another i.e. one mill against another, or one foundry against another etc.) hence the number of clubs we have in the UK.

    Whereas in the states it happened almost like in reverse, the NBA/NFL/NHL etc. were formed and they handed out franchise licences to people who could afford to buy them and afford to set up a team and take that team on the road to entertain the masses almost like a form of entertainment as opposed to out and out sport.

    Ultimately the NBA OWN and control basketball in the states to the degree that if a player breaks the rules he can be banned from ever playing the game again for a team in the NBA. In the states the players contract is with the sport’s governing body i.e a basketball player is contracted to the NBA not the club he plays for, in the UK the players contract is with the club he is with.

    To any American magpies on here I stand to be corrected if my info is wrong.

    The FA does not have that level of power so the idea of a salary cap etc etc would be almost impossible to enforce.

    As for the doubters that say the FFP rules could never be enforced, think again it would only need one or two teams (say the two biggest offenders) to be made an example of and all the others would fall into line pdq.

  • check the toastie

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #25

    Think Sami and Fergy will add a lot to our Europa team, pace and directness, the first team is lacking with this as well, Sammi is going to be like signing a 10 million pound player for sure, the boys going to take the league by storm…Think it should be Sammi and Marveaux battling it out for the LM spot.

    Pardew has sadi numerous times he hopes Fergy can become a full back, LB cover for fergy IMO, give him some Europa games there and see how he does.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #26

    I know TDS, but perhaps something we can look at in january, if we are willing to spend, as its seems other clubs are!!

    Meanwhile, stupid article in the evening standard re Pards punishment:

    Why Alan Pardew’s punishment slaps the face of decency
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    Let’s get one thing straight about Alan Pardew before addressing his two-match ban for shoving an assistant referee: the nature of his apology — quick, candid and in public — was refreshing and the FA commission rightly took it into account. But the punishment was still ridiculously light.

    It sent out the most unhelpful message to every level of a game struggling, like the education system, in the face of social indiscipline. It proclaimed that physically taking out one’s frustrations on the nearest body, even if he is a match official, is, well, a bit naughty rather than unthinkable, taboo, something you are frightened even to contemplate.

  • tfschmidt10

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #27


    You are exactly correct in your thinking. In America, the emphasis is on the expansion of the league, not the individual club, at least not to the extent in Europe (with the exception of baseball). However, clubs are given money by the EPL based on placement at end of year, and one way to balance the playing field would be to equally distribute the money rather than give the most to the first place team. It isn’t a salary cap, it doesn’t solve the problem of billionaire owners throwin money around, but it gives the little clubs more money to spend.

  • cupiddstunt

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #28

    Munster Mag @ # 19

    Please tell me how posters like yourself can take a little bit of vague info and extrapolate it into hard facts?

    To quote “Pardew is crying out for a huge centre half – just like he was in June! But MA wont invest

    How can you say MA will not invest.

    Are you privy to the NUFC inner sanctums and know something we don’t or are you just making up fucts and making them read like facts.

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:46 PM

    Comment #29

    He does what he wants, hatem ben arfa. That is all.

    Agree that cabs needs to get up to speed. He’ll be right.

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #30


    Pardew knew how it was going to be when he took the job – after all, Ashley gave him the job because he convinced MA he could do well on a minimal budget (Pardew’s words).

    It’s the fans who seem to have forgotten, even though every transfer window to date serves as a reminder.

  • Transfer Sage

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #31


    Logic dictates Ashley won’t invest.

    Pardew wanted a dominant centre half an we didn’t get one.

    Therefore only pardew or Ashley could have Prevented a deal.

    Pardew wants one so it’s logical to presume ashley didn’t get him one, therefore not investing in one.

  • cupiddstunt

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    Comment #32

    Jayphoto @ # 21

    Not saying I had noticed any difference but if so it’s quite understandable that he is feeling his way back into things.

    He did say in an interview that in one of the pre-season games he was raked down the back of this calf and ankle and was really happy as it just felt like a rake and no inner pain so it felt good.

    As he gets more and more confident in the injury I think you will see him back to his normal flinging his body into the line of fire. 🙂

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #33

    Wahay cupid – did you not close your italic htnl tag?

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #34

    Oh cupid. Way to break the blog! 😉

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #35

    Copid Stunt, thats a stupid question if you dont mind me saying so. Pardew goes on the radio at the start of the summer and says he would like a big goal scoring centre half. We only get linked to one Dutch/Brazilian guy , and fanny around with Debuchy all summer. I think its fair to say that the purse holder didnt sanction the release of funds.Or do you think any manager would refuse Debuchy , or the centre half – of course not. You can hide behide your inner sanctums all you want mate but when you take into account that we only spent 3 mill, i think a clear picture comes up.

  • martoon

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #36

    Munster Mag @26 – A very stupid article. I think the reason the punishment was quite light was because it was obvious Pardew was not abusing the linesman but try to grab his attention to the incident. At the end of the day though he shouldn’t have laid hands on the linesman which is why he got punished.
    As someone pointed out earlier the fine could could be quite hurtful to Pardew as supposedly he is one of the lowest paid managers in the Premiership!

  • Tsunki

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #37

    It may also be logical to presume ashley did want to invest but his hard-nosed negotiations simply failed this time.

  • ToonDownSouth

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #38

    Man I hate international breaks. I’m excreting bricks about the Senegal game though!

  • cupiddstunt

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Comment #39

    tfschmidt10 @ # 27

    Agreed on the money for places thing it is in its own little way an inducement to spend more than you maybe should.

    If the placement payments were a nominal difference then that would help in some small way with the teams at the bottom. There is no perfect solution and I feel that the FFP policy is just a way of strangulating the EPL and its financial streams.

  • Munster Mag

    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #40

    Guys, can you not see that I have [posted the obvious team set up @19 ?. It gives us so many options….albeit when we get the centre half. Still, it makes piles of sense….

    1. Plays to Collo’s strengths
    2. Plays to Santons strengths
    3.Plays to Ben Arfa strengths
    4. Gets both strikers on the pitch
    5. Allows Cabaye license to move forward

    You can call me the Munster Mourinho…..

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