Hatem Ben Arfa has been interviewed in the local papers today – and he’s hoping the European adventure will still be alive when he makes his long awaited return to the Newcastle first team.
Ben Arfa – in action against Liverpool
Ben Arfa has had a serious hamstring injury, and he’s been out almost three months, and has been a huge loss to the side, but the Frenchman still hopes to play in Europe for Newcastle this season, when he does make his return.
This is what he said in the local press today:
“The Europa League is still very important for us.” “If we qualify, it will be a very good thing for the club. I think we can go far in this cup, but the most important thing is the Premier League – we have to finish higher.”
The Evening Chronicle are reporting that Ben Arfa may be held back until next month – but that wouldn’ t be the first time Alan Pardew has put out false information about the fitness of the mercurial winger – and we’d hazard a guess he could start the game on Sunday against Southampton – whatever is said about his availability before the game.
Ben Arfa’s initial hamstring injury was picked up in the Europa League group game with Maritimo on November 22nd at St. James’ Park, Thanksgiving Day here in the states, and we could only draw 1-1 in a game we were expected to win.
And then he came back two and a half weeks later at Craven Cottage, but he only further aggravated the injury and he’s been on the sidelines ever since.
Ben Arfa is now back in training and as long as he comes through this week in training okay – we’ve got to believe he will be given a starting place on Sunday – and then three French players will be fresh for the game - Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran – back from his shin injury, and Ben Arfa.
And Newcastle have to repay their fans on Sunday for one of our worst performances of the season at St. Mary’s when we went down 2-0 – but it could have been a lot worse than that – and the Saints are coming off a 3-1 home victory against Premier League Champions Manchester City – so they will not be short of confidence.
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