Newcastle’s Mercurial Star – We Could Have Won At Anfield

Hatem Ben Arfa had another good game at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, and has been in some sparkling form this season for the Magpies, and he added another assist to his record when he brilliantly set up his French team-mate Yohan Cabaye just before half-time, and Cabaye produced a wonderful finish to put Newcastle ahead – a goal made in France.

Ben Arfa in action at Anfield on Sunday

After having been pummelled in those first 30 minutes by Liverpool, when that goal went in we thought this is the day we would break that 18 year hoodoo of not winning a league game at Anfield – but it didn’t happen.

Ben Arfa is used to winning, and he has a winning mentality, having won the French League with his first two clubs Lyon and Marseilles, and he had this to say about Sunday’s game in the local press today:

“We have a big week ahead.” “First Brugge and then West Ham and we have to win both.” “If we win the next few games in the Premier League we will move up the table.” “There is West Ham first and then Swansea.”

“I think the next five games are very important.” “We did well but maybe we lost concentration in the second half and from it they scored a goal.” “I think we made it hard for them to score more, though – we defended very well in the second half.”

“I think it was a very good point.” “Sometimes it is hard to take points at Liverpool because there is a big atmosphere.” “We could have won the game.” “Even after the goal we had chances, two or three, but we also had to defend a lot.”

“By the end they could have won the game, but this is a good point.” “It was a very nice goal from Cabaye.” “He controlled the ball and shot an unstoppable effort.” “It was a nice cross. Every time I try to create situations like that.”

“If Yohan can keep doing the rest we will be OK.”

Certainly Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye are two fantastic players Newcastle have picked up over the last 30 months or so,  and both of them together cost around £8M for Newcastle – another great deal by Newcastle.

And certainly they are worth a lot more than that now, having become better players on Tyneside under the tutelage of both Chris Hughton and Alan Pardew.

Next up for Newcastle is Club Brugge on Thursday night, and we need to win that game and qualify for the final 32 of the Europa League.

Comments welcome.

Note – yes – I just love that word mercurial to describe Hatem Ben Arfa – what a player this lad is now for Newcastle.

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91 comments so far

  • rainrix

    Nov 6, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Comment #1

    Mercurial and waxing lyrical ed! 🙂

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #2

    We could have, and we could have been beaten at home by Brom without complaint. I’ll take 10th on our form, and hope for a gradual transition towards more creative play. If we dont, dont expect cabaye to be hanging around in the summer.

  • Graeme

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #3

    rainrix – nice one lol

  • rainrix

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    Comment #4

    Considering that we haven’t been playing the greatest football in the world our position and points isn’t that bad, we are only 3 points off of 4th (disregarding GD) plus we’ve played spurs chelsea man u everton and liverpool, 5 hard games plus top of our europa group, we really aren’t doing to badly. We have some highly winnable games coming up, so hopefully we can gain a bit of rhythm and confidence.

  • NUfc4eve

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #5

    for west ham:

    simpson willi taylor santon
    b.arfa anita cabaye fergi
    ba cisse


  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #6

    The points tally is a good achievement considering our opponents and how poor our form is.

    It is good we are getting points playing badly but we need to start dominating games and not relying on brilliance from one or two.

    We have a team capable of playing as good as west brim and Everton. Hopefully it will click soon

  • rainrix

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #7

    Sage… We need it to click really, i have no doubt we could bundle our way to wins the way we have all season in our next 5 league games :), but after that things get serious December is a hard month for us, opponents wise as well as the inevitable fixture pile up. Hopefully by then we’ll be playing somewhere near our best.

  • Dannyo

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #8

    With the ammount of fringe players rested in the last reserve outing, expect something like this:

    Tavernier – Collo – Willo – Fergy
    Tiote – Biggie
    Marveux – Shola – Sammy

    Subs: Elliott, Good, Abeid, Campbell, Jonas, Simmo, Amalfitano

    Expecting… Hope maybe? 😛

  • jesperfuglsang

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    Comment #9

    Our game against Brügge is that on Thursday? And what time?

    …God I would really love for us to beat fat Sam and WHam 😀 – you know like a big win! lol

  • rainrix

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Comment #10

    Jesper… it kicks off at 6 here so whatever that is in denmark 🙂

  • jesperfuglsang

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #11

    Rainrix…thanks mate 🙂 (futuretime for Ibiza and I is +1 hour) lol

  • BigKirky

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #12

    Was a shame their goal came from such a slack pass, but our goal was the exact type of goal you get when you have as good a quality player as those two in the team. I’ve been saying it a while but if Cabaye is played as the almost attacking midfielder rather than defensive, he’ll get forward a bit more where he can play decisive passes and get some shots away. Like he did at Sunderland and Liverpool. Both came from very advanced positions.

  • Colo-Sus

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Comment #13


    Ed do think Hatem Ben arfa is any of the above by any chance?

  • Quasi.modo

    Nov 6, 2012 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #14


    While I agree that you’re right to be questioning things going on at the club, I don’t think anyone is in any doubt as to your thoughts.

    You do come across as incredibly negative as nearly everything you say, while it has it’s basis in logic and reason, is laced with negativity.

    @2 you make a pretty sound reasoning but immediately follow it up with speculation that Cabaye will leave if we don’t play more creative football. That’s an assertion that I don’t think any of us can make with any certainty yet you seem to do just that.

    Not calling you a negger or anything as I don’t think you are, but you do lace reasoned comments with somewhat negative opinions.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #15


    Good comment, can’t really know what will happen with players.

    No matter how well we are playing I have no doubt that all of our players would leave if a top team came in and double their pay.

    Can anyone honestly say players like cabaye, Ben arfa, cisse would turn down barca, Madrid, man utd etc.

    What we need to do is play good football and get a good league position again so we aren’t vulnerable to clubs like spurs, Liverpool, etc being a more tempting proposal that our club.

  • Tsunki

    Nov 6, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    Comment #16

    To turn down offers from barca and madrid you need to be playing well enough for them to make an offer. No risk of a big move for any of our top players at this moment I feel. Check back with me in April on this.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Comment #17


    Obviously we aren’t playing that well but it was just a point.

    No matter how good we are players always want to play for big clubs with a history r winning thins which still are winning thing regularly.

    Look at Dortmund, dominated the last few years in Germany but still lose players to the elite clubs.

    My point is we can’t worry about losing players I those typed of clubs, it happens if you have a good player. What we need to do is be competitive for European places to make sure we don’t lose our players or target players to immediate rivals like Everton, spurs etc

  • danuneek

    Nov 6, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #18

    I would definitely stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation against West Ham. We need a bit of consistency with formation and tactics at the moment so we can find some rhythm and kick on with the season. I would not play 4-4-2 with two big men up front. With the players we have we don’t need to be playing long balls, particularly against the king of the long ball Fat Sam. I would have the ball on the floor and get it moving quickly. West ham aren’t the most mobile team. I also think Willo and Taylor will be able to handle Carroll in the air.

    This has to be the team:


  • jayphoto

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    Comment #19

    Asides from the assist, I didn’t think Ben arfa played that well against Liverpool! Tbh I think hes having a poor season by his standards! He’s playing well, don’t get me wrong but a player with his individual talent should have more goals and assists and should be taking every game by the scruff of the neck! Honestly can’t think of a more individual talent in the EPL, the fact that hes going under the radar as far as journalists and pundits and not being included in “teams of the season so far” suggests hes under performing! Someone with his talent should be the first name in everyones team

  • archaeomag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Comment #20

    Hatem Ben Arfa is a Pices and is rules by the planet Neptune.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Comment #21


    Even in France Ben arfa never got the goals he should have.

    On terms out agility and beating a man he is on par with hazard but in terms o consistently doing in during a game and over a season he is a mile behind.

    Hazard got 20+ goal last year, obviously won’t get that in the EPL but Ben arfa didn’t ever achieve that in France.

    Benny just needs to be left to do his own thing.

    I think pardew needs to sit down with Ben arfa and cabaye and plan a formation and style that will not just get them scoring but running the midfield and setting up the forwards

  • bettyswallocks

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Comment #22

    We really have to find a way of supplying Cisse with some quality passes when he is in the danger area.

    He is not a creator of goals he is just a finisher, thats all.

    We can hardly say he has missed a hatfull of good chances but he s either playing too deep or completely redundant up top waiting for a chance that never arrives.

    Ba is a bit more creative and a better hold up player but Cisses first touch is piss poor for a 9 million striker su unless we can supply him with some decent ammo he s a waste of time.

    We must also stop playing back to Krul so often who then hoofs it back to the opposition.
    Liverpool were an example of a side very comfortable in possession and made very few backward passes.

    Surely this self belief has to come from the coaches which does nt say much for ours.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:49 PM

    Comment #23


    Liverpool do make a lot of backward passes, same as Swansea did under rogers.

    The key is to be able to play from the back so you lure teams forward so when you do pass it out you catch people of out position.

    Us going long just 8/9 times our of 10 loses us possession. We just need the players to keep the ball better.

    Our movement even from te more technical players has been poor and often there is never a decent pass on

  • roshan MAGPIE

    Nov 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #24

    nufc s europa league match will be shown live on ten sports in India match starts at 11-25 pm

  • Special K

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #25

    Quite satisfied with the start to the season, just 3 points off Champions League and on the verge of sealing a place in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup

    One thing I’ll never understand is why Pardew even contemplated switching from the 433 that had us steamrolling teams for the last 3 months of the season.

    I get that it that Ba didn’t score in the system but it wasn’t for want of trying, he was denied by wonder saves and the woodwork more times than I remember. This year Cisse hasn’t really had a chance to write home about except that penalty miss.

    Also to be honest if hypothetically the reason we’re playing 442 is because Ba puts his goalscoring stats above the good of the team than I’d rather cash in now. I doubt he is but the minute these guys are looking at their own performance ahead of the teams there should be warning bells.

    Next 5 games are huge for our season, realistically we could be sitting in the Top 5 with progress in the UEFA Cup banked.

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Comment #26

    Quasi, I think you have to distinguish between being critical and being overtly negative. I have openly criticised aspects of our play this season, and the lack of investment in the summer. I was poo pooed but I was totally correct on the lack of proper funding. I hope and expect this to be addressed in jan. If you call this negativity I dont really care. Similarly, I think Liverpool and Brom were noticeably better than us in terms of control and chances, but we did well points wise. I still think its fair to criticise those performances without being “negative” . People need to distinguish between fair criticism and negativity. I’ve been a Pardew fan since kick off. The thing I have been most consistently critical of was NUFC’s withholding of funds for players needed, given that prices quoted were not silly. I think that will be addressed in Jan, but we will have lost half a season by then.

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #27

    Special K, Pards has a problem with Ba and Cisse and guys like me and Billson have said this since the summer. It makes most sense to get Ba in there as the main man, but in doing so he loses the predatory skills and brilliant finishing skills of Cisse. If he messes with Ba, ba will walk. But Ba is the more important of the two IMO. In a perfect world for pards, teams would have 12 players, allowing him to play a Cisse and Ba, with Ben Arfa in behind, and the extra player playing on the wing instead of Ben Arfa!

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Comment #28

    Incidentally Quasi, when I highlight the positives of Fergie, Ameobi and Anita excellent performance in midfield, is that negative too, or just not positive? 🙂

  • Ian Toon

    Nov 6, 2012 at 3:58 PM

    Comment #29

    Jesper- You know, the usual whingers are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. They would love to have a real moan but are constraining themselves largely because:
    – were picking up points
    – flashes of how we can play
    – clear signs of better days around the corner
    – our defence even with injuries has not resembled a tramps shoe
    – they can’t enunciate a compelling argument
    – there bogged down with team selection and formations and lose sight of the fact that were hard to beat
    – bringing in a few prospects is not a panacea
    to all our so called problems.
    The travelling and home fans are far more attuned to where we are as a football club than a number of regular but largely clueless posters. It might be ok for fantasy football but not in the PL. Can anybody say honestly that they’ve been impressed with Man U’s consistency of performance. Defensively they
    have looked weak – sometimes you just have to dig in and hope for better performances whilst picking up the points. It’s a funny old game. To avoid the negativity I recommend
    a strict reading list.
    Munster- your still on my list but your tilting towards the out tray. You give the distinct impression of having had a row with your wife/g/f/ boss/ staff/b/f – delete which is not applicable.
    Munster- hang on in there 4-2-3-1 or variations thereof are just around the corner.
    Jesper- I also look forward to stuffing fat Sam’s mob.

  • jesperfuglsang

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Comment #30

    Ian…sorry mate I know I haven’t given you a reply today and you been so kind to answer me back twice 😀

    …and with some very good posts as well!

    I’ll get back to you tonight I promise 🙂

  • Munster Mag

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    Comment #31

    Ian me old mucker, you’re very perceptive! 🙂 At the meoment we have regressed – not just from top 5 etc, but from where we were this time last year. Sorry to sound negative – just a statement of fact/opinion. I’m not saying we wont improve, although if I had a free bet , i would guess that we are not going to achieve the same heights as last year. Everton will probably take that slot. The annoying this is that the prem league is no great shakes. i am fairly confident we will improve, but it really needs to start happening soon. The consistently poor first half performances would be a good starting point. Yes, work is crap!!!

  • nufc_eire

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Comment #32

    I think we should cash in on Ba, Tiote and Simpson this window. We’d get around 25-30m all in for them. Ba is stifling cisse and his wage demands are insane, tiote is becoming more and more of a liability with every game and simpson is one of our more weaker links and he contract is almost up

    We could bring in the likes of Sissoko for Tiote, Debuchy for Simpson and Guidetti as a back up striker to Cisse. That would leave us with around 15m in change to buy a really good winger/second striker and a really good centre half like Douglas or Alderweireld if we want to splash the cash (I’d defo spend the extra 5 or so million to get Alderweireld – he looks savage).

    We could play our 4-2-3-1 formation and maybe, just maybe, look balanced as a team and manage to dominate in a few games. Also the sooner Gutierrez gets dropped the better, he’s a good squad player at this stage

  • fray bentos

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Comment #33

    no lets not get rid of Ba, Tiote and Simpson

    lets try to have some stablility in players, also you may not have noticed but we are not blessed with a big squad

    please don’t confused your copy of football manager with real life


  • Ketsbaia9

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #34

    Yeah, Alderewerield is the man for us. He is the closest to Vertonghen. We need a goalscoring defender. Sign:


  • Ketsbaia9

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Comment #35



    Simply not good enough.

  • BelfastMagpie

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #36

    I would sell Cisse,before I would sell Ba like.

    I wouldnt want to lose any of them,but If I had to choose one to sell,It would be Cisse all day long.

  • toonarmydownsouth

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #37

    So you basically think were going to get £25 mil for tiote seeing as ba has a £7 mil clause which apparantly he gets half of if you believe what you read, which you clearly do seeing as no one his so called wage demands, and no one will pay for simmo when they can sign him on a free in the summer

    Also this whole its ba’s fault cisse isnt sciring is b*llocks ba is bang in form and has every right to be starting up front cisse has shown no signs of form or even hard work this season abd what has ba done exactly to fall out of favour with the more fickle fans? Seem to overlook his huge contribution to our europa spot finsh last season not to mention iur league position this season nufc-eire

  • Ketsbaia9

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #38

    We can afford to sell Tiote to fund the rest/

  • Ian Toon

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #39

    Jesper- promises promises. That’s what they all say-LOL
    Munster- ” Me old mucker” Does that mean were friends! Does that mean I can be rude to you know-LOL
    We don’t need to finish 5th to do as well as last season. Let me paint a picture. Let’s say that by season end we have say 4 of the so called prospects eg Campbell Fergi, Sami and. Bigi pushing for and appearing as regular members of PL team/ squad then as a team we will have progressed. Looking at the bigger picture the fine tuning through a few key signings over next two windows . This will enable Pardew to play a more fluid passing game. It’s evolution not revolution. I am sorry that work is difficult but always focus on that you just know will make you feel just great. Like picturing Fat Sam’s ugly face when he winces for the umpteenth time as we performat our seasons best. Do not entertain any feelings of negativity between now and the final whistle. See your feeling better already. Well me old mucker- I’ll have to google because I have this currently as a term of endearment but Munster ……………!!!m. Mm

  • nimo

    Nov 6, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Comment #40

    the one thing cisse isn’t in my opinion is a finisher … always though he’s struggled if given time t think.. still a quality player n more a scorer of wonder goals rather than good finishes


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