It took Hatem Ben Arfa a while, but this year he has shown the fantastic form he was renowned for when he played for French Champions Lyon and Marseilles, and in the first three Premier League games of the season, the 13 times capped French International has been Newcastle’s best player in every game.
The great Ben Arfa in action last Sunday
And he already has two goals this season, a penalty against Tottenham which he earned, and then whipped the ball away from official penalty taker Demba Ba, and coolly sent Brad Friedel the wrong way.
And then on Sunday he got Newcastle a point, when he launched a missile, this time with his right foot, that rocketed into the back of the net, and showed everybody he’s not a just one footed player.
That goal should be used to show just how fast a ball can fly, when a player with almost perfect technique shoots at goal – it was simply remarkable.
And it seems that Yohan Cabaye, his French team-mate, is well aware of the magic of Ben Arfa, and he had this to say on the Newcastle web-site today:
“When the defences are hard, every time he is the best player to make the difference for us.” “Against Aston Villa it was him and even against Tottenham, he won the penalty to win us the game.” “He is the man of the moment and I’m very happy that we have him in the squad.”
It remains to be seen what the International future holds for Hatem, because he didn’t exactly see eye to eye with Didier Deschamps when he was at Marseilles and Deschamps came in as the manager.
And with Didier now the French National manager, Ben Arfa has not made the last first two squads since the European Championships.
And before we end this article – here’s that goal again from last Sunday – the video’s not too good – but you get the point:
My goodness it’s still fantastic – I feel a whole lot better now.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org