We were wondering when Hatem Ben Arfa would be back in full training again, and it turns out he was finally back yesterday, and he will be fighting for his place against Southampton this coming Sunday – in what will be a crucial league game for Newcastle.
Ben Arfa scored against Fulham – in his last game
But we don’t think that he will be used in the Europa League game against Metalist Kharkiv on Thursday night – and we’d be surprised if he even traveled for that game.
Yesterday was a celebration of Bobby Robson’s birthday (he was born in 1933), and if he had still been alive Bobby would have been 80 years old yesterday.
Alan Pardew was one of the guests at the Sage last night for a Celebration of Sir Bobby Robson’s life, and he had this to say about Bobby, and mentioned that Ben Arfa was back in training:
“It’s an inspiration, of course.” “We’ve got a tough one going out to Ukraine but we’re in good spirits. The whole squad has trained today – including Ben Arfa – and we’re very, very pleased.” “We go there tomorrow, hopefully with the enthusiasm to win.”
The whole squad training will also mean that Yoan Gouffran has recovered from a severe gash and bruising on his shin he picked up in the game at Tottenham, when he was carried off in the second half, so that is more good news.
Ben Arfa has been out over two months since he made his one game return at Fulham at the beginning of December, and looked great and scored a brilliant goal out of nothing, in the second half.
But it seems like he was brought back too early for that game, and he further damaged his hamstring – but we have to hope he is now fully recovered and can play in all of our final 12 league games of the season.
For the record Ben Arfa has played 48 times for Newcastle with 10 goals and 10 assists.
It’s great to have Ben Arfa and Yoan back in training.
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