Ben Arfa – Plastic Pitch Hard On Knees – Why I MIssed Chance


Ben Arfa did very well last night on his first game back in the team for three months, and it’s just a pity he missed that chance in the second half, otherwise he could have been celebrating a birthday goal, as he turned 26 yesterday.

ben arfa anzhi

Ben Arfa – in action in Moscow last night

But Ben Arfa says that his chip shot in the 64th minute didn’t come off, because one of the reasons was his unfamiliarity with plastic pitches – and we suppose that’s a good an excuse an any. 😀

This is what Ben Arfa told the Evening Chronicle from Moscow:

We can now finish the job. Next week we have a great chance to win with our team.” “St James Park will be a different game now.” “It was a good birthday for me still almost perfect, but 0-0 is OK.” “We haven’t lost and we have a great chance to qualify.”

“I had a chance and I actually tried to chip it high over the keeper.” “I was aiming for more uplift, but on that pitch it isn’t the same as on grass.” “I hope next game I get another chance and this time I’ll score.”

“We were solid and we tried to keep the ball.” “But it was a night when we didn’t have too many chances to score.” “I think 0-0 though is a good score-line. We always prefer to score a goal or two of course.”

“Yet this gives us a good chance to get through.” “It was hard on the plastic pitch because it isn’t easy on the knees.” “But that is the game and we had to play on it.”

“Overall I feel good and I am very happy to be going back with the score level.”

Next up for Newcastle and hopefully for Ben Arfa is Stoke City on Sunday afternoon, and we definitely need to win that game and get all 3 points to take us up that league table, and we’d love to see the mercurial Frenchman start that game.

There’s no doubt he’s an important player for Newcastle and makes a difference in the team.

Comments welcome.

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210 comments so far

  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    Comment #1

    Jesus Christ benny’s making more excuses than pardew. HBA out! 🙂

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  • NUFC_LEAZES END

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #2

    Repost

    @yoyo
    Could happen mate, could happen

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  • yo-yo

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #3

    I suppose the knees issue is why Strolla can’t play a full game… mind he can’t play a full game on grass either 🙂

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  • Toonarmlee

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #4

    Don’t know if any1’s mentioned this but that wee club in the north east is still in Europe.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #5

    I think most players from both sides struggled with the pitch. Surely they can get a better one than that there?

    with undersoil heating and pitch covers could they not maintain a grass surface?

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  • ~ Phoenix Warrior Perch~

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    Comment #6

    Regarding the last article about Mbiwa.

    Granted Mbiwa was immense last night, but I think Perch’s performance is being overlooked. Perch may not have been as flashy as Mbiwa, but what he did, he did well.

    He got several strong fair tackles and blocks in and disrupted a lot of Anzhi attacks. He was truly on his game last night. I’m afraid Willo is now officially 5th Choice Center back, behind Colo, Saylor,Mapou and Perch.

    Perch easily the second best player on the field for us yesterday.

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #7

    Not keen on HBA as a striker even factoring in his lack of match fitness his positioning was not that of a striker seemed to play alongside Sissoko rather than in front of him, could of been the match plan I suppose though when Shola came on he played in their half rather than ours

    Was a even game we contained them well but they really never started playing in all fairness, very poor game to watch but decent result only really bad point was Obertan (probably Marv as well) just no fight in them

    With the exception of Haidara no one stood out as being able to start in our PL team who isnt already in it imo

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  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #8

    Sage… Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t artificial pitches on the whole much cheaper? You do get used to playing on it eventually so it can give you a slight advantage but anzhi did struggle as well. Moneys the only real reason i see to have one.

    Presumably spartak have had some success on it as well so they might not see a reason to change.

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  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #9

    Yo.. Agreed, People shout for anita and marv to start ahead of jonas and tiote but they didn’t perform any better than them really. I’ll give marv the benefit of the doubt because its painfully obvious he should be played through the middle. Anita is probably a bit rusty due to lack of matches, its a dilemma as to who plays in that final midfield spot.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Comment #10

    rainrix

    No idea, i imagine the cost is less as less maintaining. For me though if it is possible to turn out a grass pitch (not sure if the conditions allow it but see no reason they should if undersoil heating etc) then UEFA should force their hand on the matter.

    A rugby team (can’t remember which) recently laid an artificial pitch and after extensive independent tests they found it didn’t increase or decrease the amount of injuries sustained.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    Comment #11

    wwycd

    Agree with all of that really, ben arfa isn’t capable of that false 9 role that messi plays (not sure how they class it as false 9 when he spends all his time centrally and trying to get goals but never mind).

    I think obertan’s total lack of desire to keep or win the ball was pathetic last night and becoming an all too common site from him.

    I’ll always support the lad whilst he is on the pitch for us but the sooner we get rid the better in my eyes.

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    Comment #12

    Rainrix
    For me our strongest team is the one we currently play but with HBA in for (upsettingly) Jonas. Am not keen on Marv tbh never seems to have the heart when he loses the ball and is greedy in possession from what Ive seen, Anita I like but I don’t see where he fits in our team currently next season I see him playing more or at least getting more of a chance to make a impact

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  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #13

    Sage… I think thats the crux of it maintenance costs. Maybe undersoil heating costs a lot to fit and run? It’d be much more in use in places like russia then over here due to the climate. It is mainly scandinavian/eastern european teams that use them i assume the cold must be a major factor. I dont know really im not a turf manager. 🙂

    Also have you ever done a sliding tackle on astro turf? Damn it cuts you up 🙂

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #14

    Sage
    Last season I put my all behind Obertan and fought many a fight saying he would come good and had skills this season, early on, he started to show that and I was over the moon for him but last night he looked like the player we got from Man Utd rather than the one we have built up

    Jonas has had games where everything he touches turns to $h!t but he never gives up which I love him for Obertan gave up on the flight over judging by last nights display

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  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

    Comment #15

    Yo… Yeah i think thats the side pards has hinted he’ll play when everyones fit. HBA is much better at tracking back than marv or obertan. Obviously not jonas level. I think jonas’ role now will be coming off the bench to shore things up as he did against metalist. He’s simply not good enough offensively to warrant starting atm.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #16

    rainrix

    Yeh it does take off skin…they are much better than what they were 10 years ago though but still not pleasant.

    Then again sliding on a dry football pitch isn’t good either.

    However pro football teams always water a pitch before to help sliding and passing.

    Could you water (lightly) a 4G pitch like last night to make sliding better?

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #17

    wwycd

    I was the same with obertan. I thought i’d give him time and see what he can do and to his credit he improved slightly and in europe this season has been beating men and trying to cross the ball (failing at that though).

    My issue is the same as yours, he seems to not care, he seems in his own little world and doesn’t seem to understand his responsible to the team.

    Jonas is poor really but the guy gives his all and never hides in a game regardless of how good or bad he is playing.

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #18

    Rainrix
    Unfortunately I agree though I love Jonas he has dropped off this season but I think his energy and drive would be great coming off the bench for 20-30 minutes when full backs are more tired and Jonas can open his legs a bit

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #19

    Sage
    In the 94 minutes played last night Obertans PL winger contribution amounted to around 3 minutes imo his positions and runs were pretty good to be fair to him but what he did with the ball was so poor and frustrating

    Am not sure what Obertan can offer to our club atm…honestly wish we had kept Routledge (whom I never wanted sold) and the extra mill or so deficit

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  • Rainrix

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #20

    Sage… Not sure mate, i’ll just go to northumbria uni and read up on my turfmanship i’ll get back to you in 3 years 🙂

    Yo… Yeah its noticeable he’s gone down hill since last season when he was brilliant its easy to forget he’s nearly 30, he probably hit his peak last year, sadly that means its all downhill 🙁

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  • toonincheek

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #21

    Don’t really think it was down to the pitch.
    Keeper did well to read HBA’s best option – and covered it.

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  • yo-yo

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Comment #22

    Yo

    I’d still prefer Jonas over Oba or Marv after their performance last night. You can see why Pards sticks with him even though he is well into his declining years. Bpth Oba and Marv seem to lack final product too but at least Jonas puts in a shift and contributes tactically

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #23

    wwycd

    I liked routledge…remember him tormenting man city’s left back in one game but his end product was non existent….swansea is the first club where he has shown his potential.

    I would rather have kept him than gotten obertan though, and thats prior to the signing and in hindsight haha.

    I think we need to look for a winger who is in the mould of aaron lennon (we need pace and a trick out there with end product)

    Bale and lennon are the reason spurs are so ahead of us in my opinion….two good wide men are essential to stretch teams and leave more room for the technical players in the middle.

    Even pep guardiola said he struggled with barca when he stopped playing pedro and sanchez…so if they can’t pass it well without width from midfield then we won’t be able to consistently either.

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  • yo-yo

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #24

    Yeh that Routledge deal was one of the few transfer mistakes we’ve made. Who sold him ?

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Comment #25

    yo-yo

    Exactly.

    Marv out wide is useless, can’t get into the game.
    Obertan never offers anything much either other than the odd bit of promise only to scuff his cross.

    Jonas is no better but like you say, he works his socks off. With hba gaining fitness i expect him and gouff to start with jonas benched but until hba is ready (might be now, we don’t know his fitness levels) then its hard to say.

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  • Spreadthetoon

    Mar 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #26

    I think the fact that a lot of our 1st team was rested bodes well for the game against Stoke.
    Elliott – needs matches under his belt, did well again
    Debuchy – Rested
    Saylor – played little time
    Mapou – needs match sharpness and played well
    Santon – rested and will know Haidarra is on his eels!
    HBA – run out not match fit but good to see
    Cabaye – good run out and taken off early
    Sissoko – stamina of a giant
    Gouffran – rested
    Cisse – virus / rested and now fit for wkend!

    so 4 1st teamers rested, HBA, Cabaye, Saylor not playing full 90, Jonas in reserve and rested – things shaping up nicely for Sunday. What a massive difference these January signings have made, we are no longer thread bare!

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  • yo-yo

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #27

    TS

    We def need wide players. One true left sided and maybe do a Bale with Santon and leave Haidara as Left WB. Then there is the striker problem and we’ll be cookin’ on gas

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #28

    Rainrix
    Yeah this season he seems to of hit a wall but I do hope he can find some form again Giggs is still playing well despite his ages and I truely hope Jonas follows suit

    yo-yo
    Oh aye Id have Jonas over both Obertan and Marv but not over Gouffran and HBA 3rd choice isnt a bad spot for him I suppose plus he was a great CM back end of last season so still options for him moving full time into that role

    Sage
    Its rare I can be smug about a transfer dealing but I thought at the time Obertan was no better than Routledge just younger, the Routledge loan deal to QPR annoyed me (was a bizarre decision imo) and then selling him annoyed me more. Hes a good solid player not amazing but for where we were he had a part to play

    I agree on the wide men but I think Gouffran could blossom next season and hopefully the addition of someone with the attributes of PEA would transform our attacking play

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  • Spreadthetoon

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #29

    PEA of Jermaine Lens should be our no. 1 target and should be landed early in the transfer window so that they can bed into the team well before the season starts!

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Comment #30

    wwycd

    very happy already with gouffran but we still need another one i think.

    I know we have hba and gouff for either side but i’d still like us to get a lennon style player in as well as another striker to push cisse or even overtake him in the pecking order.

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  • tdt

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    Comment #31

    Think we should play this team on Sunday:

    —————Elliot—————
    Debuchy-S.Taylor-M’biwa-Santon
    ———-Tiote–Cabaye———-
    —HBA—-Sissoko—-Gouffran—
    ————–Cisse—————-

    Subs: Alnwick, Hairada, Perch, Anita, Jonas, Marv, Sh.Ameobi.

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  • Novocastrian66

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Comment #32

    Transfer, just read your false 9 point. I agree, how’s it false when he is trying to score constantly. I think it’s just a case of someone trying to pass off something as new.
    There has not been any great innovations in football since Puskas and the Hungarians hit the world in the 50’s. they invented the modern game everything since is a rebirth. Even Brasil and Holland followed their philosophy.

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #33

    Spread
    Ive not seen enough of Lens to form an opinion on him his name pops up on here a lot though same with that Mertens of PSV is it? Dont know anything about him either mentioned in the same vein as PEA though and I like what Ive seen of him

    Sage
    Hey am never going to disagree about squad depth mate haha more the merrier as far as am concerned. Id quite like to see what Gouffran has to offer as a striker for us though he seems to get into good pockets of space in the box when he comes central wouldnt mind Cisse coming off for HBA against Stoke and letting have a run at their thugs

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  • Toon-Prodigy

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #34

    Afternoon lads,

    Cracking result,

    Perch had a quality game as did Mapou. Good to see Benny back also,
    Seriously lacking match fitness like. Narf piled the weight on aswell, was kind of funny seeing him like that haha. I think these drink and gambling rumours could be true! (Joke)

    Obertan:

    Well, I hate to admit this but im losing patients rapidly with this lad now. Last night was horrific for him. I very nearly had to buy a new TV today like. He is lacking so much to be a modern day professional footballer, there is simply no excuse anymore for him. I hate to turn on a player but this lad is woefully short in talent. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and thought it might of been a confidence problem but not now. I’v gave up after witnessing that.

    While he is wearing black and white i’ll support him, but I think it’s about time this lad went, he’s no where near good enough. Sir Alex has had our eyes out pure & simple. English football is not for him. Cheers for that Alex.

    Over the moon with the result. Be a cracking 2nd leg at St James, im sure 45,000 50,000 will be turning up for it. Great night in store and we will hopefully be celebrating and mooching into the next round.

    Roll on. HTL.

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  • Spreadthetoon

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #35

    WWYCD
    Lens has prolific pace and would provide spaces for other players……..only doubt is as to whether he has the strength…Gouffran has been a real revelation….he’s got the strength, skill and right attitude playing for the team. All areas that Obertan and Marveaux would do well to adopt.

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  • WWYCD

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #36

    Spread
    I dont disagree, I must admit when we signed Gouffran I wasn’t over the moon I thought he’d be a rotation option but not a starter, a cheap alternative to a main target but I am happy to admit when I am wrong and good lord was I wrong lads quality. Sissoko has taken all the headlines but Gouffrans performances have been on par imo and the link up play between the two of them is wonderful

    I was over the moon when we signed Sissoko but I didnt give Gouffran the respect he deserved at the time but now hes up their in our top players for me

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Comment #37

    prodigy

    Yeh same with obertan…he has my support on the pitch but I dont blame some fans turning on him with his lazy attitude on the pitch.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #38

    This team genuiely excites me now…we have matched every team we have played and bettered most since the new boys arrived and thats without a fully fit HBA and a misfiring cisse.

    When these lads are up to speed I think we will push any side in the league.

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  • Toon-Prodigy

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #39

    Transfer,

    He lacks the main necessity, a footballing brain. He has ability but he can’t put everything in place. You either have it or you don’t and this lad hasn’t. It’s painfully obvious now.

    To me, he seems a 100 meter sprinter, some bright spark has came along and thought i’ll try and turn you into a footballer.

    Hate to slam a player, I really do. This lad has to go for me, he’s had his time and chances. I suspect he will be away in the summer.

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  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Mar 8, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Comment #40

    Transfer Sage
    I agree could of got something from every game

    Sunday will be different test for the toon. New players will have to get used to Stoke’s physical game. and a stiff neck for looking skywards half the game

    But if we keep it on the deck and play football we should win

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