Pardew Faces A Dilemma With This Top Newcastle Player


If we had a vote on who is Newcastle’s best player,  there’s a good chance that Hatem Ben Arfa would be top of the poll, because on his day Ben Arfa is wonderful to watch, and of you go through some of the great goals he has scored for Newcastle over the last three years,  you would come away thinking this lad was simply world-class.

ben arfa fulham goal

Hatem Ben Arfa – an absolute darling among Newcastle fans

You want your best players playing in the top games against the top sides, and we have a very tough game on Saturday at home to Liverpool, who took us apart 6-0 in April

But while Hatem at his best is close to world-class going forward, he is not very good at defending, and in the first half at Everton, he was culpable for all three first half goals, and he simply wasn’t in position and didn’t track back to help Mathieu Debuchy defend Newcastle’s right hand side.

Former Newcastle player Tommy Cassidy has it about right when he had this to say about the Frenchman in the Chronicle today:

“Ben Arfa is one of those players who excites you every time he gets the ball – you expect something great to happen.”  “On his day, he is the best player Newcastle have, no doubt.”

“He is the sort of player who won’t consistently get six or seven out of 10, he’ll be the kind of player who’ll get nine out 10 and then the next week he’ll get four out of ten.”

“That’s just the kind of player he is.”  “He doesn’t like getting back and doing to dirty work defending, but going forward he is the one the crowd want to see.”

“Ben Arfa will win games for Newcastle United, and let’s hope he can continue that for the rest of the season because he was fantastic in the opening month.”

So against top sides Ben Arfa can be a liability because of his poor defending, and yet he can also be the match winner too – in those big games.

It’s certainly a big game on Saturday against the Reds, but we’d be surprised if Ben Arfa gets a start, and we think the team will be the one that did so well at Cardiff.

And the only change will be the fit again Steven Taylor or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in central defense to partner Mike Williamson, if Colo cannot make it because of his muscle injury.

Comments welcome.



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87 comments so far

  • Ciaran

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #1

    “And the only change will be the fit again Steven Taylor or Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa in central defense to partner Mike Williamson, if Colo cannot make it because of his muscle injury.”

    Erm what? Williamson has become our No 2 centre half after Colo? When exactly did that happen?

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  • mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #2

    It’s simple, play HBA in a number 10 role of Remy – would remove the defensive duties and allow him pretty much to do what he does best

    Obviously Pards won’t listen to me

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  • mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Comment #3

    off Remy, drop Cisse to bench

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  • mindshaft

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:34 AM

    Comment #4

    Williamson and Colo are relatively slow, Sturridge and Suarez aren’t – I don’t feel good about this

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  • Rotonda heights

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #5

    so ash wants us to play like Brazil. After JFK, isn’t pardew the last person who would embrace ”total football” It’s going to be a hell of a stretch for him

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  • the_besty_show

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #6

    Cabaye is our best player by a distance

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    Comment #7

    in modern football all players have to be able to defend, they don’t have to camp in their own half but they need to be able to pressure the opposition and get back at times…read the danger, if they are in the best position to gte back then do it.

    Look at rooney, gets 20+ goals a season, assists too and also offers a lot defensively.

    I’m not saying ben arfa should do a jonas role and babysit the fullback, but he does need to accept more responsibility.

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  • tequilamag

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Comment #8

    average goals conceded per game whilst playing for Newcastle.
    Taylor 1.48
    Willo 1.52
    Colo 1.56
    Yanga 1.68

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  • jazzyp

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM

    Comment #9

    Coutinho is has been declared fit and for me it was this guy who ripped us apart last time. Still fancy us tho, gotta keep that optimism up guys. Wish i could be there but am in skeg vegas

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  • Ciaran

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:46 AM

    Comment #10

    So statistically Willo and Taylor are our best defenders. But we know that Willo and Taylor are not our best defenders, so those statistics are pointless.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:51 AM

    Comment #11

    No idea who the game will go, i’d make liverpool favourites but you never know what newcastle will turn up.

    I do think we have the talent to win the game, remy ,cabaye, ben arfa, cisse all have goals in them…liverpool just have better players and a better system/team play.

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  • Maladoni 69

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Comment #12

    That’s great stats tequila. Expect them to go North come Saturday afternoon though.

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  • tequilamag

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Comment #13

    Ciaran, not really the statistics really show there is little difference between Colo Willo and Taylor. They all have different strengths and weaknesses. Willo is better in the air than the others. Colo is the better footballer and Taylor is the most whole hearted inmo.
    Sadly for Colo his lack of pace is being exposed more and more at PL level. Personally I would let him go back home at the end of the season and wish him all the best.
    Taylor has become this seasons whipping boy for posters and it is hardly deserved.
    Yanga has the worst stats but still has time on his side and should be cut a little slack as he is still adjusting to the PL.

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  • ilovetoon8788

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Comment #14

    Ben Arfa is just way too inconsistent for us to keep playing him. We can’t be carrying him and playing with almost a man down when he’s having an off day. He plays 2 great games and is pants the next 5 games.

    his goal and assist ratio is still not good enough. he scores wonderful goal and wins us matches no doubt. but its far too little and its costly having to play him when he’s off form.

    i don’t mind cashing him and buying a player who is consistent in his play and get involves in it every single game.

    Like Nolberto Solano or Robert. Even when they are not having their days, they were still a threat someway somehow.

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  • Maladoni 69

    Oct 17, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #15

    Do those stats include Championship campaigns?

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  • tequilamag

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #16

    ilovetoon, agreed that all players have a responsibility to work for the team. HBA is a great threat to any defence and hopefully being dropped will have reinforced the message and next time he gets a start hw will put in a better shift. I hope he starts on Sat but if he is not performing hook him.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Comment #17

    ilovetoon

    I think that’s a fair assessment, it’s been the same over his whole career, even in title winning french teams he never once had an amazing season like say hazard did where he got 20+ goals.

    He is a player with more talent than pretty much anyone in the world, he beats people so easily, he just doesn’t have it in him to be consistent and he doesn’t make good decisions often enough.

    I’m not trying to bash the poor lad here, I just think he needs to be much more consistent to be a regular player.

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  • tequilamag

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    Comment #18

    Maldoni, they were from the NUFC website. I think it incldes all games played but I wold not swear to it.

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  • stunna

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Comment #19

    “culpable for all three first half goals, and he simply wasn’t in position and didn’t track back to help Mathieu Debuchy defend Newcastle’s right hand side.”

    How do you figure HBA was culpable for all three Everton goals? Also, Pards played him on the left that game, presumably b/c he wanted Goofy on the right to track Baines. HBA didn’t track Coleman much but to blame the goals on him is laughable.

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  • ilovetoon8788

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #20

    Transfer Sage // Oct 17, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    I agree with you. I don’t expect him to score 20+ goals a season even, as Arfa isn’t the same class as Hazard etc.

    Its about, like you say, making good decision and getting involved in every game at the very least being one of the most creative players we have.

    I love his goals, and his dazzling runs once in a while. He’s a joy to watch on his day. But its just not worthy having him on the pitch on his off days which is one too many.

    I’d rather have a player minus the odd brilliant goals and individual display, but can set us up consistently and make his precence known every game.

    He needs to look at Robert’s/Solano’s game or two.

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  • Ciaran

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    Comment #21

    Santon, M’biwa and Colo were more culpable for the three first half Everton goals than HBA was. He does need to press the ball more when we don’t have possession though.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:29 AM

    Comment #22

    i love toon

    i think ben arfa has a lot more talent than hazard, think benny beats players with much more ease and has a lot more balance/strength.

    Just think that hazard is much more consistent.

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  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    Comment #23

    Pardew hails the guy as a “maverick” and a “special talent” when he hits a wonder goal and wins games on his own, yet drops him after a couple of bad performances .

    You can’t have your cake and eat it Pardew . If he was hitting screamers top corner every game he would be snapped up by Real or Barca FFS . Starting him is a no brainer IMO, also he destroyed Enrique when we beat Liverfool a couple of years ago .

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #24

    ciaran

    with you on that, the defence was a total shambles, getting pulled all over the place. Santon kept getting way to tight ot mirralas seeing as he didn’t have the pace to stay with him, then colo and mbiwa were both all over the place.

    It’s just poor organisation…its the same in attack. We mess around with poor shape so when we get forward we dont often make good chances…same as the defence except instead of not creating a chance for the striker we end up creating a chance for theirs with poor defence.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    Comment #25

    big ppapa

    I’d gor for remy through the middle, gouff left and hba right this weekend.

    Think hba attacking the left side of enrique and sakho would be good…sakho looks a little shakey and clumsy in his first few games so i think the last thing he wants his hba running at him.

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  • Ciaran

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #26

    Sage

    Poor coaching, but we know Pardew is a poor coach. Yet he’s still in a job. 2nd longest serving Premier League manager at the moment and I cannot see him being sacked any time soon.

    Pardew has questions to answer, but his boss has a few more to answer for keeping him in the job.

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  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Comment #27

    @ Sage

    Yeah I agree Remy through the middle a Cisse offers very little however I would like to see Marveaux back in the team. If he can get assists for Cisse who isn’t the quickest and offside a lot, imagine what he could do with Remy ? .

    Something like this :

    ——————————–Krul——————————

    –Debuchy——-Collocini——–M’biwa——–Santon—

    ——————Tiote——————–Sissoko————–

    ——-HBA—————Cabaye———-Marveaux——–

    ——————————Remy——————————

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  • Sav

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    Comment #28

    Hatem will probably get last 20-25 minutes but I’d like to see him start and see us take the game to the scousers who are clear betting favourites.

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  • Sav

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #29

    – as such, we’ve nothing to lose by going for it.

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  • Transfer Sage

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #30

    big papa

    i like marv, just think he, like ben arfa, isn’t a team player and is no where consistent enough. It’s difficult as he can do more in 10 minutes than others do in a whole game but if he gets 90 mins he can do nothing sometimes.

    Ciaran

    Yeh it is, but the players are responsible too…i mean mbiwa has played international football but in recent games has struggled to even do the basics well like hold a line with the other 3 defenders. Thats his own fault….not sure why he does it as i am sure he knows better, just as individuals the defense is making mistakes as well as as a team.

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  • Scottiedog

    Oct 17, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Comment #31

    BPA – with HBA on the right Debuchy will be destroyed!! HBA is our super sub to bring on with 20mins to go. Goufran is a MUST to start as he will track back.

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  • lesh

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    Comment #32

    Wow, hasn’t Ben Arfa got a lot of support on here?

    It’s clear that in some eyes, he can do no wrong, he is the perfect player.

    Now if he were of the appropriate religious persuasion, the Pope’d beatify him.

    C’mon you blindly loyal Ben Arfa fans, open your eyes and recognise that he’s not the complete player.

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  • Ian Toon

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:38 PM

    Comment #33

    Ian,

    I understand there’s some arguments going on again about you having
    multiple IDs – as far as I can see – you still have only one – as Ian
    Toon.

    I hope these arguments will now die down.

    Ed Harrison.

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  • lesh

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #34

    Maladoni 69 @12

    If you’re expecting our goals per game conceded to stats to go North come Saturday afternoon, then can we expect our season to go West?

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  • AndyNUFC

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #35

    Lesh people are loyal to Ben Arfa because we are lucky, in fact blessed to have a player as talented as him. I honestly believe if we lost him then we would never find someone of his class for a good few years.

    How we nabbed him for £5M was sheer luck – and if there was ever a cup final or relegation game we needed to pick a team for, he’s my first on the team sheet.

    You can’t criticize him for not being a complete player because we simply don’t have anybody who is in the team.

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  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:47 PM

    Comment #36

    @ Lesh

    Then who is the complete player in our squad then ? .

    Cabaye – Inconsistent
    Tiote – Inconsistent
    Sissoko – Inconsistent
    Collocini – Inconsistent

    yet they all play and no one has a problem . The only player in the team at the minute that is un-droppable is Remy . How is Ben Arfa supposed to get any sort of consistency if he is injured through no fault of his own or dropped after a couple of poor games ? .

    I am not saying he can do no wrong but where would we have been without him in the first few games of the season ? .

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  • Ian Toon

    Oct 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #37

    Ibizatoon- Ed sent me the above message this morning. I had not drawn the matter to his attention but I was delighted yet again for his timely intervention.

    I have no beef with you and your intentions were well meaning.

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  • G

    Oct 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #38

    Ian Toon, are you Ed Harrison?

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  • G

    Oct 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Comment #39

    … Sorry, just couldn’t really resist it!

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  • Ian Toon

    Oct 17, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Comment #40

    G- I could do a lot worse.

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