Ben Arfa Likely To Play At Anzhi Makhachkala On Thursday

Ben Arfa has been working on his fitness over the last week at an accelerated pace, and that includes coming in over the weekend and doing extra work in an attempt to get him fit as soon as possible.

Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle celebrates after he scores from the penalty spot against Tottenham.

Ben Arfa – could play on Thursday night

And it looks like the French International will get some playing time in Thursday night’s Europa League tie in Russia, although his is unlikely to start that game.

This is what Alan Pardew told the Shields Gazette today:

“I think he’s got a chance.” “We wanted to put some work into him – he’s a little bit short.” “Whether he gets 20 or 30 minutes towards the end of that game, I don’t know. That’s probably the most he could get.”

“We’ll see how he shapes up. He worked all weekend. Hopefully, we’ll get him even closer.”

It could be a difficult game on Thursday night, as it’s being played on the artificial pitch of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, which is the 78,000 capacity home of both Spartak Moscow and CSKA, but it’s a long long way from Makhachkala – about 1,115 miles.

It will be good to have Ben Arfa back in the side, after he was initially injured in late November, when we played against Maritimo at St James’s Park and he had to come off in that game with his hamstring injury.

But it’s taken a long time to get the lad back to playing again, after an aborted comeback at Fulham in early December, in which he was our Man of the Match and scored that fantastic goal.

And he turns 26 on Thursday too – so maybe he can celebrate his birthday with a goal?

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10 comments so far

  • Ben3arfa

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #1

    Playing in the cold in front of a small crowd and on an artificial pitch , not the ideal place to introduce Hatem

  • Rainrix

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #2

    Pardews so stupid he has a part time job painting skittles.

  • Rainrix

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    Comment #3

    I take it anzil don’t actually have to much of a home crowd being so far away from their actual city? Could work in our advantage so much less pressure for the lads.

  • Rainrix

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Comment #4

    * Anzhi

  • bollance

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:25 AM

    Comment #5

    Looks like i may be wrong on hba.

    But have to agree, neither this match or vs stoke are idea games for hba to return.

  • bollance

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:26 AM

    Comment #6


    Maybe we will get some part time Russian nufc supporters in the crowd.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #7

    Its a little bit unfair how UEFA allow these clubs to play on Castro turf yet made them dig it up for their precious CL final,if they deem it good enough for normal and international fixtures why couldn’t they let them keep it for a CL final.

  • Rainrix

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Comment #8

    Bollance… Hopefully, anything that’ll push us into the next round 🙂

  • samuelwongsl

    Mar 5, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Comment #9

    Premier league survival is the key. But will trade for 17th place in the league in exchange for the Europa League Cup!

  • ballerfan2

    Mar 5, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #10

    And therein lies the difficulty for Pardew. Play Ben Arfa or not – doesn’t matter what he does someone will conclude he is clueless by his decision. I am certainly happier with Pardew in charge rather than some of the armchair experts we have on the blog. Pardew has said he may get some time and I suspect he’ll make that decision once he has determined the suitability of the surface and Ben Arfa’s condition. He won’t risk him unnecessarily.


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