Some really good news today from Alan Pardew, that Ben Arfa has had no ill effects from his hamstring after making a substitute appearance last night, and setting up Newcastle’s goal when he dispossessed a Benfica player in the penalty box.
Ben Arfa in action last night – he will not start tomorrow
Ben Arfa is the type of player that Newcastle fans simply love, and you could see (hear?) that last night with the welcome he received from the crowd when he was brought on after 62 minutes – a tremendous roar.
There could be a number of players back tomorrow including Steven Taylor, Mathieu Debuchy and Cheick Tiote, but Alan Pardew was giving nothing away today in his press conference for tomorrow’s Sunderland game – other than to say Newcastle will field a strong side. .
This is what some of what Alan Pardew had to say:
“We’ll have to wait and see – I’m not really going to give any news about my injuries and who’s fit and who isn’t available.” “But we’ll have a strong team.”
“Hatem’s an X factor player, there’s no doubt about that.” “He won’t start tomorrow, he’s not ready to start, but any impact at any time he’s there and any time after half time I’ll be looking at him.”
“He seems to have come through yesterday with no ill effects. He’s not that stiff, which we thought maybe he would be because it was a little bit longer than we planned for him to play.”
“But he certainly lifted the crowd and lifted the team. He’s got fantastic ability and we’re very lucky to have him.”
Benfica drew Turkish side Fenerbahce today in the Europa League draw, and Chelsea are up against Basel – and maybe it’s a second European title for Chelsea in successive years?
And yes Real Madrid drew Barcelona – what a tie that will be – and the final will be between a Spanish side and a German side – either Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund.
Alan also said he thought Newcastle had done themselves a lot of good in Europe by the way they had played, and also the immaculate way in which the Geordie fans conducted themselves at the games – both home and away.
Alan also mentioned how Benfica has shown how they were a class act, by laying flowers at the Bobby Robson statue at St. James’ Park – that was a tremendous gesture by the Portuguese side last night and all credit to them.
Bobby managed both Sporting Lisbon and Porto, so he was loved and admired in Portugal – as he is around the world.
And Alan Prtdew has been simply amazed at the full houses Newcastle have been able to draw in the last several home games – because as Alan said this afternoon, it’s not like we’ve had a great season in the league, like we did last year.
We just have to hope European competition isn’t too far away for Newcastle in the future – maybe the season after next – hopefully.
Note – today we are trying to help one of our readers, Bagus Asmanu – who is studying at INTO Manchester – in partnership with Manchester University – and Bagus is completing a dissertation – and some of the work is on the Wonga deal with Newcastle United – and he wants as many Newcastle supporters as possible to complete his questionnaire. Here it is - please help Bagus.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org