Alan Pardew has said that he cannot have Hatem Ben Arfa play too much before the end of the season, because if the Frenchman plays too much and is fatigued, he could tear the hamstring again – for a third time – which would not be good.
Ben Arfa – in action against Liverpool
So much for the experts a couple of weeks ago saying that the hamstring was now 100%, and we are wondering if only rest in the summer will be enough to fully heal and repair the hamstring – or maybe some operation will be necessary after all.
It seems that Newcastle have been all over the map with Hatem and his hamstring since he first picked it up last November, saying he was fit and then saying he was out for the season and needed an operation, and then bringing him back after specialists had said he had scar tissue and the hamstring was 100%.
This is what Alan said about the French winger:
“I still need to protect Hatem’s hamstring. I can’t afford to lose him in the run-in.” “If we get him into a position where he is fatigued, then there is more chance of him injuring his hamstring again.”
“I will use Hatem to the maximum without him getting into a fatigued area. Basically, I am going to have to shepherd him back the best I can.”
“Hatem is as cautious as we are that his hamstring is protected because he knows that not only can he influence games by coming off the bench, but that we also need him for next season.”
“That is probably more important than anyone else, that we get a good pre-season out of him, and he’s raring to go at that kick-off in August.”
But of course Newcastle are also right to take a safety-first attitude and it seems we will only see him on as a substitute in the remaining five games of the season,.
But this Frenchman can cause players a lot of trouble, especially when he comes on after say 65 minutes, when opposing defenders may be tiring.
Ben Arfa has played 17 times this season for Newcastle with three goals and three assists.
But it means he will not start this afternoon, in what is turning out to be a crucial game for Newcastle and Alan Pardew.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org