Newcastle’s best player in each of the first three league games of the season has undoubtedly been Hatem Ben Arfa,, and the French International has two great goals to show for it too.
Hatem Ben Arfa – a maverick loved by the Newcastle fans
Alan Pardew was the one who signed Ben Arfa to a full time contract at Newcastle, and he did that even though the Frenchman was still recovering from that terrible double fracture of his left leg, in January of last year.
But that signing – rumored to be anything from £2M to £5M from Marseilles – has turned out to be another stellar signing by the Magpies, with Ben Arfa looking as good as he ever has, in his career.
This is what the Newcastle boss told the Sunday Sun today:
“One of the first things I did when I got here was sign Hatem on a permanent contract, and the reason I did that was his goal at Everton two years ago because it was so special. I saw it on television and that was when he really caught the eye.”
“When you have a player who can produce something like that, you know there will be more to come.” “Hatem is very focused and single-minded about being a professional footballer. A lot of players could learn from him in terms of that.”
“He is still a maverick. That’s the beauty of him. You never quite know what he’s going do because he gives an X-factor to your team.” “I have only had three or four players in my time as a manager with that level of ability, so I was keen to work with him. He is our probably our best player at the moment.”
“It would be nice to get the odd tap-in from him. He’ll probably head it if it’s on the goal-line. He is a great player and really is bang in form.” “Hatem is brave. You underestimate footballers in terms of them putting their limbs on the line.” “That injury he sustained will probably reveal itself in some form later on in his life.”
“But he still takes people on, and the way he beats them makes players lunge at him, so he is liable for these type of injuries.” “You have to manage every player slightly differently, if I’m honest. Experience sometimes helps. I’m not sure whether I would have coped quite as well as I have with him when I first started my managerial career.”
“I’ve had some very good players such as Carlos Tevez, Javier Mascherano, Teddy Sheringham, Bobby Zamora – and Hatem is right up there on top.” “He will never shy from the ball. Never, never, never. For games such as Aston Villa at home, when things are going against us, he is going to go and get you out of trouble.”
“Not only did he get us a point, he could have won us all three.”
Ben Arfa’s had many problems in his career with authority, and they have been more than well documented, and the press had a field day when France lost 2-0 to Sweden in the European Championships, and reported an argument between the Newcastle winger and the then France manager Laurent Blanc in the dressing room.
But there’s been none of that from Ben Arfa at Newcastle, and it hasn’t got in the way of Newcastle supporters just loving this kid, and the fact he’s a maverick makes their passion for him even stronger.
He’s a terrific player for Newcastle, but we may need him to score another humdinger at Goodison Park on Monday night, if Newcastle are going to get anything at all out of this game.
We wouldn’t put it past the 13 times capped French International to do just that.
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