After the disappointing news today that Steven Taylor is likely to miss the game tomorrow night against Benfica, after picking up another injury in training, Alan Pardew had some good news, that French International Hatem Ben Arfa is available for the game.
Ben Arfa – last time he played in Moscow against Anzhi
The Frenchman had returned to France a few weeks ago, after Alan Pardew had said he would be out for the rest of the season, and that he would need an operation on his troublesome hamstring.
But several specialists took a look at the hamstring, and said there was scar tissue there, but that he could play with no ill effects, and they said his hamstring was 100%.
The last time Ben Arfa played was in the Europa League, when we played Anzhi in Moscow, and he had a good game, but then had a bad reaction after the game, which led to Pardew saying he needed an operation.
This is what Alan Pardew said about the mercurial winger this afternoon:
“Hatem has made an unbelievable recovery.” “He will be involved tomorrow and I’m sure if he’s needed he will be somebody that can turn the game.”
“Cheick Tiote and Mathieu Debuchy – who’s obviously unavailable – are both going to be training tomorrow, which is good news for us.”
“Other than Steven Taylor, everybody else is available.” “We’re not far away but tomorrow night is probably just too soon for a couple of the key hitters.”
It remains to be seen if Alan Pardew will use Ben Arfa tomorrow night, although he says he will be involved, but we have a feeling that he will be held back for the important game against Sunderland on Sunday afternoon, where a win against our local rivals could see us safe in the Premier League, and 8 points above Sunderland.
Ben Arfa will probably start on the bench tomorrow night against Benfica.
Fab Coloccini – back for game at West Brom
The other good new is that Fabricio Coloccini should be fit to play at West Brom in ten days time, on Saturday 20th April, and we have a decent chance of picking up something from that game at the Hawthorns.
This is what Alan said about Colo
“Fabricio Coloccini I would say is looking at West Brom in terms of our fixture list – he has perhaps a small chance of that game – but we’re almost there.”
Note: For those attending Thursday’s game (and Sunday too) please bring your scarves to the the game, as there is an effort to recreate the atmosphere at Alan Shearer’s testimonial, and hopefully inspire our lads to two famous wins.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org