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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Pardew – I’m Not Being Critical Of Ben Arfa – Definitely Not

9:16 am, Friday, March 1st, 2013 by Dr. Ed Harrison · 22 Comments

One of the widely publicized comments of Alan Pardew’s news conference yesterday for the game at Swansea tomorrow, is that he has been disappointed with Hatem Ben Arfa’s fitness levels, since he returned to training a week last Monday.

Hatem Ben Arfa gets a hug from his Newcastle United team-mate

Ben Arfa – not as fit as he should be

And now it seems an alternative treatment for Ben Arfa last December, was to have the hamstring operated on, but the Newcastle medics took the more cautious approach of giving the injury time to heal.

Here is the full text of Alan Pardew talking about Ben Arfa’s conditioning and his hamstring problem:

“Hatem’s conditioning has disappointed me this week.” “He lacks a bit of fitness and that is something we need to push on. His upper body strength is there, but his general fitness needs to improve.”

“My gut feeling is that I’ll take him to Swansea, but he will work when he’s with me, and he’ll work hard.” “He’s been protecting his hamstrings, but now it’s a question of trying to get the work in.”

“He had a little bit of trouble this week with illness and missed a day, and he’s missed a couple of other days here and there which have cost him.” “I think that from now on, he cannot miss any more days.

“I am not being critical of him, definitely not. I’m just telling our fans because I know our fans will be thinking, ‘Let’s get Hatem in the team’, and he isn’t ready. My sports science boys are pushing him, but we can only push him as far as we can.”

“On the back of a really bad hamstring injury, I can understand why we have been so protective of him. But now is the time to kick on.”

Notice that Alan went out of his way to say he wasn’t criticizing Ben Arfa, but of course that’s not the way it’s been reported in some quarters.

It could be a mental type of problem that Ben Arfa is unknowingly protecting his hamstring, and the last thing he wants is to have it go again.

We don’t know the specifics of Ben Arfa’s injury and we are not medical people, but if the Newcastle medics and presumably the specialist considered an operation may be necessary – that’s possibly what should have happened and get it over with.

Giving it time to heal doesn’t always work – and he may need an operation in any case – and the whole recovery then takes a lot longer than if surgery was done in the first place.

And that’s what was decided was necessary to fix Yohan Cabaye’s persistent groin problems.

But of course we hope the Frenchman can now return to fitness quickly, and maybe he can make an appearance in Russia when we play FC Anzhi Makhachkala next Thursday night.

He’s a great player and it’s always good to have him in the Newcastle side.

Comments welcome.

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Tags: Hatem Ben Arfa · Injuries · Medical · Premier League



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22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Next article “Pardew – I am being criticial of Willo – The guy that cost us CL football last season” ;)

  • 2 rainrix // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    The willo criticisms are simply mind games from pards to fire the lad up! Willo will start and reclaim his starting spot tomorrow!

  • 3 Graeme // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:26 AM

    Ibizaa; criticize Willo – how could you!!

  • 4 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Graeme…Well I wasn’t. Did you not notice the “Pardew – “?

    Personally I think he should be given a lifetime contract to deflect abuse from fans and management from other players. Only playing, he’s an honest hard worker but limited in his ability. He generally does well enough when playing but is the obvious candidate to be upgraded at some point.

    Rainrix…Shola and Willo to lead our charge to a EL spot this season?

  • 5 Novocastrian66 // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:31 AM

    Typical of the British press to put a negative slant on anything NUFC.

  • 6 jayphoto // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Anyone thats been to any games this season and sat close enough to the bench would have seen pardew going mental everytime Willo (and krul actually) hoof it to no one! Think he knows willo doesn’t fit into how we play, id expect perch to be ahead of him for centreback! Quite optimistic for swansea, might get slated but i think MYM is an improvement to collo and Elliott is a good keeper, whilst krul is the better keeper its refreshing to see elliotts distribution adding to our attacking play

  • 7 rainrix // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Ibiza… Im going to go out on a limb and saaaaaayyyyyyy………………………………………………………………………

    Yes. When have my predictions ever let us down? I was right last week and i will be again! Got i sound like an ITK there, next gig for me it seems. :)

  • 8 Novocastrian66 // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/newcastle-united/nufc-news/2013/03/01/yohan-cabaye-on-standby-as-newcastle-skipper-72703-32904655/

  • 9 Tsunki // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Next article entitled ‘ I am being critical of whatsisname, you know the other guy, tall lad, can’t jump, always hoofs it, ketsy can’t stand him, awww man his name is on the tip if my tongue anyway – I am being critical of him, whoever he is. But not Hatem, he’s lovely’.

    Might need atrim that but you get the idea….Shut it Ibiza. No still doesn’t work.

  • 10 rainrix // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:37 AM

    Jay…. Well i reckon colo probably peaked last year. Its easy to forget he’s nearly 32. You’d have to be mad to buy a defender at that age. Colo is still a great defender atm but its almost certainly downhill in terms of ability from here. MYM is obviously the long term replacement and is likely better than colo.

  • 11 jayphoto // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:40 AM

    Also, pardew slating Shola resulted in him playing his best performance of the season with a goal in kharkiv! When it comes to benny, even HBA has said in french press that Pardew is a big positive in playing for newcastle! He says pardew inspires him to fight for the team, he also sayings newcastle is the first team hes felt loved and part of a family since his youth days…. Weve won 4 and drawn oneout of 6 games since pards got his players, southampton aside they were all hard fixtures and weve played carpet football each time! Think some fans will never accept pardew no matter what, maybe they dont remember the football and decisions under Dalglish, Gullit, Souness, allardyce, kinnear, hughton! Big fan of hoots but bang it to carroll is hardly tactical wizadery! Pardew is probably the 3rd best manager weve had in 25 years and 15 odd managers behind bobby and keegan!

  • 12 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    Novo…Interesting about Cabaye. Does that mean Jonas isn’t playing as he usually takes the armband or has Pardew had a proper re-shuffle?

    Either way, I’m glad it looks like Cabaye is next in line.

    Rainrix…I cannot think of a time that you’ve ever been wrong about anything.

    Jay…Whilst I don’t think it will be an easy game against Swansea I too believe there is reason to be optimistic.

  • 13 jayphoto // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Would love to see cabaye as captain! A player they should not only build the team around but also the club! Hes a player if we can keep him for 3/4 years i think will go down as a toon legend! Might be rose tinted but i cant think of a premier league centre midfielder id rather have at the moment

  • 14 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Tsunki…I think Belfasts lack of appearances is starting to effect you. Any minute now and you’ll be calling everyone a c*** :)

  • 15 martoon // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:49 AM

    Jayphoto @11 – Think I tend to agree with you about Pardew. On a similar theme how do people rate Mike Ashley as owner. There is an argument that after the well documented mistakes at the begining he is turning into one of the best owner’s we’ve ever had. JFA will not agree of course :)

  • 16 Spoof // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    There is a chance that Cabaye will be skipper for the Swansea game, taking into account that he is a big influence on the pitch and combine that with how he has tried and succeeded in helping to bring in so many quality players last month, would you agree that he deserves to be captain, I certainly would

  • 17 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    Martoon…Feeling adventurous this morning? :)

    There do seem to be some great improvements being made at the club and if it continues I think that could very well turn out to be the case. Who would have thought?

  • 18 jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew // Mar 1, 2013 at 10:06 AM

    Gotta say when it comes to sports injuries operations should always be the last resort.

    When you opperate it is because the damage is done – and with hamstrings it should never come to that.

    Pardew messed up when he played him a forth night after the first hamstring – he knows that and in hindsight he probably regrets it!

    Ibiza… both Willo and Simo costed us CL ;-) We are trying to rectify it by offloading Simo in the summer. Willo is next lol

  • 19 Ibizatoon - Back by popular demand // Mar 1, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Jesper…Come join us – We’re two threads on now ;)

    I forgot about Simmo. Willo and he share the blame equally – b*st*rds!

  • 20 jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew // Mar 1, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    I shall be there in just a minut :-)

  • 21 DannyH10 // Mar 1, 2013 at 10:49 AM

    All this talk of Pardew criticising Willo. Is this not what we have all been doing all season? Everyone (including Willo) knows he is not good enough for the first team. Pardew pointing out that Mbiwa is a better option, is just stating the bleeding obvious!

  • 22 toonincheek // Mar 1, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Guti is the official vice-captain at the mo’.
    Can’t see AP making Yohan captain, even for the day,
    if Guti starts.

    Just hope that if, or rather when, Yohan is made captain
    that it doesn’t distract him from his primary role of creating.




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