There is news today that French International Hatem Ben Arfa may return to the starting line=up against Liverpool at St. James’ Park today, and the manager seems satisfied, very satisfied in fact, with the reaction he got from the player after he was replaced at half time in the Everton game, and then benched for the last game at Cardiff City two weeks ago, which we won 2-1.
Ben Arfa – scored again!
Ben Arfa was Newcastle’s best player in those early games but then he went off, and the problem with Ben Arfa is that when he’s not playing well, since he doesn’t defend too well either, he doesn’t offer much to the team when he’s off form.
But we can only think that the 26 year-old, who has been training hard this week, has also been impressive in training – and the local papers think he will start today – probably for Yoan Gouffran, but we’d be surprised if Yoan is not in the starting eleven.
This is what Alan Pardew said about Ben Arfa today:
“It’s always difficult to leave out players you like,” “I love Hatem. I want him to play as well and as consistently as he possibly can.”
“But sometimes you need to say players, ‘Come out, have a look at it, see what you did well and what you didn’t do so well, and analyse yourself’. I think he’s done that.”
“He’s trained really well in the last ten days and really taken what we’ve said to him on board. I’d like to think that when he goes back in the team, whenever that is, he’ll really be at his best. I hope so.”
Liverpool will be fielding a very strong side today, and we will need Ben Arfa to track back to help out Mathieu Debuchy, and Papiss Cisse may be the one to give way for Ben Arfa, if indeed the Frenchman starts this game.
It will also be interesting to see how many fans are at the game today, but we expect another full house.
And apart from last season’s 6-0 defeat,Newcastle have won their two previous games at home to Liverpool under Pardew: 3-1 in Alan’s first game as Newcastle manager, and 2-0 when Andy Carroll returned with the Reds, and the Geordie lad did not get a good reception from the fans.
That’s what happens when you leave your home town club for some other club – however good they may be.
We need something out of this game today.