If Newcastle are going to survive a potential catastrophic relegation this season, we need to see some of our top players play near their very best form in the last two games of the season, and we need some players to step up and score some goals too.
Ben Arfa - coming into top form – hopefully
And on Saturday the returning Hatem Ben Arfa, making his first start since the game at Fulham in early December, was outstanding in the first half, although he faded a bit at the beginning of the second half before he was replaced.
But the mercurial Frenchman should be even fitter for the QPR game next Sunday, and we need to see his magic, and that could well be the difference against QPR in a game we have to win.
Alan Pardew seemed upbeat about Hatem’s fitness today, when he talked to the local press:
“Hatem has done well after a week’s work. He didn’t pull the hamstring. He’s OK.” “He made a difference at times. He was the difference between the two sides in the first half.”
“He had a little bit of quality. It’s a shame we couldn’t get the goal.” “Cabaye and our flair players will probably have a bit more in their lockers, hopefully.”
And we also hope to see Yohan Cabaye playing at or near his best in the last two games, and we know Yohan can put the ball into the back of the net – and no doubt he’ll be encouraged to shoot when he can, in our last tow games of the season.
If we can survive relegation it’s going to be a huge relief for the side, because we don’t have to point out that another drop would be an even bigger tragedy than the last time a short four years ago.
It would simply decimate the current team.
Ben Arfa can add to his folk hero status on Tyneside, in the last two games, by being our main man and getting us the points to survive what has been a terrible and frustrating season.
You can also reach Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org