With Newcastle only having Shola Ameobi as an experienced striker in the squad last night, and manager Pardew not wanting to risk him on the artificial surface of Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, Ben Arfa was used as a striker for a some of the game last night, and most of the time he was the player in the most forward position for Newcastle.
Ben Arfa – the mercurial one in training
And considering that the Frenchman had been out for three months with his hamstring problems, we thought he did very well last night, and it will not take the lad lomg – he was 26 yesterday – to be fully fit and back in the groove again.
This is what Alan Pardew told Sky Sports today:
“Hatem lasted longer than I thought and did well given he is not fit.” “I have thought about using him there before because if I was a centre-back he is the last person I would want to see with the ball at his feet. And I would certainly consider it again.”
When Ben Arfa first came to the club in August of 2010 Chris Hughton wanted to play him as a second striker, where he could inflict the most damage on the opposition, and with his skill on the ball, he could put the ball into the net or set up some other chances in the penalty area.
Just like a certain Lionel Messi does at Barcelona, so it seems a decent proposition, but we wonder if he would be strong enough physically to do that laid back striker role?
But it’s certainly worth a try – and maybe even on Sunday against a beatable Stoke City side?
What do you think?
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org