Ben Arfa Still Has Important Role To Play At Newcastle

When Hatem Ben Arfa was in sparkling form at the beginning of the season, Alan Pardew pointed out that the Frenchman’s biggest challenge at Newcastle was to become consistently good, week in and week out.

ben arfa trapping ball

Ben Arfa – still an important player at Newcastle

And those words became just a bit prophetic as the French International winger started to disappear in games, and currently is not even a starter at Newcastle.

This is what Alan Pardew said recently about the winger:

“The truth with Hatem is we need a consistency in his play,” “The decision-making process of Hatem is sometimes crucial, taking players on or playing it quickly.”  “It’s that balance that we are trying to get in the team.”

There are two things that the coaches at Newcastle keep telling  Ben Arfa – one is his decision-making that Alan talks about in that quote, and the other is his habit of giving the ball away at the wrong time and place – like being caught in a tackle and losing the ball in a dangerous position on the field, and that puts the team in danger.

It must be a difficult time right now for the 26 year-old, but we have no doubt he’ll come again, and if Newcastle can continue improving and moving up the league table, Ben Arfa can provide the class in games that can be the difference between winning and losing.

But he must get to grips with continuing to work hard for the side, and apparently according to the manager he works a lot harder in training than he used to.

And another thing in his favor is his new found maturity, so he needs to keep his head down and continue to work hard in training.

So while it’s a difficult time for the 26 year-old at the moment, we have no doubt he still has an important job to do for Newcastle this season.

For the record Ben Arfa has played a total of 67 times for Newcastle with 13 goals and 16 assists, since signing on from Marseilles three years ago, and this season he has 11 appearances with two goals and four assists.

What do you think?

162 comments so far

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #1

    When of form, we have no player like Benny in the team. Trouble is, with our other deficiencies, we can’t always afford to have such luxuries as it effects the overall team performance.

    Out of interest, does anyone know how much time Benny has left on his contract?

    I hope Pardew can find a way to get to the best out of Benny on a more consistent basis.

  • Phatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Comment #2




    Nov 6, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #3

    starsports, 1,2,3,4 avaible in india… more football now

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #4

    Cheers Phatoon.

  • Ben3arfa

    Nov 6, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Comment #5

    It is more than just the decision making aspect of his play but things like tracking back and getting out muscled by full backs which Benny needs to work on .

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #6

    I’d have him in my team

    I’d have him just behind the striker ,

    I’d take all the pressure of him tracking back and I would get the ball to him as often as I could

    the same with a lot of our players , I’d like to see a real manager get them

    ibiza , I seen your long reply the other day , thank you , I will try and find it to reply,
    work and working on my house has got me pretty busy right now

  • Malta Mag

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:10 AM

    Comment #7

    I think you have to give Ben Arfa a free role to simply”drop hand grenades”. Don’t give him a covering role as he’s not capable as was found recently but the role we gave him v Liverpool could be his future with him pulling players from out of their central defensive roles. I think to play a 4-


    Debuchy. M’Biwa. Collocini. Santon

    Tiote. .

    Sissoko. Cabaye. Goufron

    Remy. Ben Arfa.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    Comment #8

    And people can’t see the positives?

    We have recently been debating on if/how Colo, Anita and Ben Arfa can get back into the team, we’ve got the likes of Dummett and Haidara pushing, Marv and Saylor will hopefully have contributions to make and Cisse will hopefully get back to form too.

    Looks good doesn’t it?

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #9

    Catchy…No problem.

    On Benny playing behind the ST, I agree it would relieve the pressure of him having to drop back, however, he seems to get too easily crowded out when in that position for some reason. Doesn’t mean it can’t work though and is certainly where I have thought he should play in the past.

    What formation would you use to play Benny there?

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #10

    TDSarf…I can see some positives for sure. What that amounts to is still a grey area as I still don’t know what team to expect in the next game (i don’t mean which players, but how committed they will actually be).

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Comment #11


    True. But that’s not unique to our club. The only clubs that have shown any consistency of performance have been Arsenal, Liverpool, Southampton and Palace. The latter not in a good way!

    We’ve had 2 good performances in a row against top 6 teams, let’s hope we can make that 3! In fact, 3 out of our last 4 games were good performances against top 6 teams.

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #12

    TDSarf…Agreed, however, I am more interested in our own form. Whilst other teams faltering keeps us in the race, so to speak, it shouldn’t be our reason for not getting a little more consistency. But I get your point.

    It is also true that of late, forgetting the Sunderland game (yeah right…) our performances have been improved. I’m hoping that continues, I am also aware that there will of course still be some games that don’t work out, for whatever reason, it is part of the game and does happen to everyone.

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:34 AM

    Comment #13


    right now , It’s hard to say

    I’d be tempted to 3 cb as both debuchy and santon are plying wing backs any way , I always feel we are to light at the back

    having wing backs means we don’t need out and out wingers so my MF would be tiote siting in front I the defence , Anita and cabaye , for me there both fantasic ball players with energy , both will put there foot in too,
    Benny free roll , try and get him to pass more , by our team need to give him options to, right now , under pardew , we sit and wait for things to happen from our better players , that is a fact

    and up front , right now I would go for remy , he knows where the goal is

    we don’t play as a team

    all I know is when we play with 3 forwards it does not work, there all to far apart, and all to greedy

  • catchy in norway

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Comment #14

    sitting in a clinic in stavanger waiting to have an MRI on my Achilles’ tendon ,

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Comment #15


    Agree, we can always strive for more consistency. I know you haven’t, but I get a bit annoyed with people who insult the team or manager because of this though, they don’t deserve that.

    I just think things are looking pretty good with the players pushing for places. I am nervous that if Remy gets injured, we don’t have any serious goal threat though. Remy is clearly our greatest threat with the likes of Cabaye, Goofy and others capable of getting 10 this season but we need that player in the box who the opposition believe will score if he’s given a bit of space. Cisse needs to sort his head out because he does have the ability.

  • Mint

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #16

    Benny could actually become like Rooney at ManU, playing just off the main striker.

    But actually Remy does this quite nicely too.

    So Benny has to be in a riskier position as he would need to do some tracking back to help defense. I can see why Pards has him on the bench – I bet he starts once Remy gets crocked (as he will, its NUFC)

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:49 AM

    Comment #17

    Catchy…A sort of 5-1-3-1? I actually quite like that, but we’d need to be playing almost all of our CB’s 🙂

    Hope your scan goes well.

    TDSarf…I was with you on that I found people to be overly negative in the past, I just feel we’re at a stage of no return if that makes sense.

    It’s hard to remain rational, given the history and the overriding lack of ambition at the club.

    I find myself getting carried away by a good performance, but then am instantly reminded of when we finished 5th and made little to no attempt at pushing on. All we’ve done is lower expectations since.

    Makes it hard to get excited and get behind the club, as what is the real point?

    Does this make me less of a fan (just pondering here, not saying you have accused me of such)? I don’t believe so, just a disillusioned one.

    Still, I thoroughly enjoyed the last few games tbh, once again the scum game being an exception, and really hope the lads can keep the fight up.

    At the end of the day, I just want to be proud of my club. For now, I will have to rely on the playing side of things, so long may it continue.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Comment #18

    From a previous thread, I think it’s a little bit unfair that you were suggesting that I said that Ashley should have put release clauses in players contracts, that wasn’t my point at all, what my point was that if a gentlemans agreement had taken place, if a CL team came in for them then the club would let them go, I can imagine it would demoralise a player if the club reneged on that as in the case of the 18M bid for Tiote ( if to be believed) , as I say it is a blessing in disguise we have a WC, otherwise we would have a very useless Cabaye on our hands.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #19

    The only reason we have a semblance of competition for places this year is because of our very real threat of relegation last season.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #20


    Yes, but some people seem to be using problems at the club as some kind of justification to attack anyone involved with the club for the slightest mistake. Players, manager, scouts, coaches all slated unfairly

    The issue is the relationship between the club and the fans has been damaged due to Ashley’s arrogant and naïve decisions exacerbated by a minority of fans’ impatience and aggressive responses. It’s been a never ending cycle for years…Ashley makes a stupid decision, fans react angrily, Ashley becomes less associated with the club as anything other than a business, fans react angrily…etc.

    I just wish we could get 100% behind the manager and team and just look at ways to help the club move forward.

  • Jail for Ashley

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Comment #21

    You just can’t help yourself from blaming the fans for the breakdown in the relationship between owner and his customers, do you have any idea what KK means to people up here, despite some of the mistakes he’s made.

  • Rooster

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #22

    16Rooster // Nov 6, 2013 at 12:05 PM
    Ed, its a situation were two wrongs dont make a right, it was better for MA who was in a position to give the interest free loan knowing the other way was finance and interest payments, it was his fault beacuse he did not do his due dilligence, his mistake which he had the power to right, but without doubt he should be paying for his advertising at SJP, its criminal what he is doing, we get nothing from Sports Direct and he literally gets world wide exposure from NUFC.

    It really is just pulling a fast one which is costing the club, as i said the loan was needed, he supplied it cos it suited his needs and he could do it.

    But thar does not give him the right to use NUFC and SJP, free gratis!!

    As was said in your edit, completly out of order and in my view it is defrauding NUFC!!!!

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #23

    Jail…Agree with your point @18, but am not following 19?!?

    TDSarf…That’s my issue though. What is the point? We get behind the manager and players, like most were in that 5th placed finishing season, but then the club don’t move forward. They don’t reward the players, manager or fans for their efforts.

    Whilst I do respect the club trying to be self financed, it’s not what makes me want to support the team. Ashleys decisions have slowly and surely caused this unrest, no one else imo.

  • bobby mango

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Comment #24

    Funny how people are saying about so many players doing so well, yet we’ve still manage to lose to Hull, Sunderland recently. Plus rolling over against Everton.

    That’s more than just “the breaks” going against us. It highlights how desperate we are for a decent striker, who can hold it and get others involved. I don’t see Cisse, Gomis or Ola as the answer.
    Also how we need a reliable CB pairing. Possibly from the 4 we have.

    Most of all we need the hallowed consistency.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Comment #25

    on this article, ben arfa has a huge future if he works harder.

    I watched the man city game last night, negrado got a hattrick and still, from a central forward role, came back to support the right back in defence near his own box a good 6/7 times in the game when silva/nasri ended up out of position.

    Thats the example HBA needs to follow.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Comment #26

    ben arfa also needs to make better decisions with the ball….something he has never done wel at any club. for the talent he has had he has never got the goals or assists he is capable of, with us or any of his teams in france.

    The lad should be getting a good 30 assists/goals (30 in total, not of each) a year. He has that much talent.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Comment #27

    What Arfa is going to ahead of Gouffran?

    Arfa needs to learn from Gouffran. As it stands, he’s below Gouffran in the pecking order.

    Arfa is a luxury player, who doesn’t track back often and his decision making is terrible, who holds onto the ball very often and gives it back to the opposition almost 7/10 times. But comes up with the odd magical goal, which to me is not enough.

    Gouffran is a better player than Arfa.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    Comment #28


    I think ben arfa is a player that needs to be in a good team, he struggles as not that many on his wavelength, can see he is frustrated at times.

    But he needs to adapt the other boys as much as they should adapt to him. He has to work harder without the ball and make smarter decisions like you say.

    I agree on gouff, he brings more to this current set up than ben arfa does.

  • Ibizatoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    Comment #29

    Bobby…I think consistency is the underlying factor for most fans at the minute.

    Some will concentrate on the games that have been a failure, others the games that have worked well, but at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone disagrees we have lacked and now need consistency.

  • Ted Bundy

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #30

    Getting behind the club 100% includes being allowed to openly critique the decisions made by the regime, for the betterment of the club, any set-up having the interests of the fans would welcome this. Candid correspondence without fear of been reprimanded, being able to express yourselves openly, even if that means unsavoury songs etc, which only started because of his past misdemeanours and his attempts to brush them under the carpet. Ashley the overindulged childlike dictator simply won’t allow this. He doesn’t want to understand the fans – he is the one who has exacerbated the situation. He’s a bully, born from cowardice.

  • Mister Tuff

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    Comment #31

    Getting back to the advertising at SJP. I think most would accept that sponsorship deals are worth more than advertising revenue. But when you see other clubs on TV their grounds are covered by ads from numerous companies. Why would the other clubs go to the bother of selling ad space if it was not worth it (the line spouted by the Toon). It surely must be worth it. I am reminded of the reported quote that when Tubbs bought the club it was stated that it was to advertise Sports Direct.
    It the reporters at Thompson House are short of a story why don’t they ask how much all the other PL club are making from advertising -we could then gauge what the advertising is potentially worth at SJP.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Comment #32

    pardew can’t change the past, so if he can get some consistency going in performances and results over the next couple months it will go a long way to bridge things with fans, not heal everything or please everyone but will help.

    I wish he could come out and say what he really thought about not getting the players he says he needs.

  • Transfer Sage

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:33 PM

    Comment #33


    Good point, there must be a reasonable amount…even if it just covers the cost of a few youth coaches or even youth players….its more money into the club.

    The thing what huge clubs like man utd do is sponsor everything….think they just announced an asian laundry official sponsor….milk it for everything.

    Granted we wont get these deals as not as worldwide as them, but shows every little helps and brings more revenue to the club.

  • Ciaran

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    Comment #34

    We shouldn’t complain about inconsistency because every club suffers from inconsistency? We shouldn’t complain about not having enough strength in depth because other clubs don’t have strength in depth?

    Since when has it been acceptable for Newcastle United fans to compare ourselves to lesser clubs? If a club like Liverpool, Spurs, hell even Southampton, have decent depth in quality as well as play consistently good football, why should we not expect the exact same?

    That’s not being demanding, unreasonable or deluded, that is expecting what ought reasonably come from a club with Newcastle United’s stature.

    Do not listen to these peddlers of mediocrity as they do not represent what constitutes ambition in the eyes of football fans. When they defend the regime and slate the fans, you know they have one agenda – making Mike Ashley’s brand of sweatshop football seem appealing.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Comment #35


    This is the weird thing…progress? Every single club has experienced professionals trying to progress. This is football, it’s entertainment and it has a limited number of clubs in the PL. Only 4 clubs can finish in the top 4 so to get there, we have to overtake several super-rich clubs to get there.

  • matias

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    Comment #36

    Some exaggerations here like. Ben Arfa certainly doen`t give the ball away 7 times out of 10, more like 2 out 10. His problems are slowing down things when no need and maybe vice versa. And he can`t defend or track back most of the time. I don`t quite agree he has given the ball away in dangerous areas lately. Certainly not as many times as for example Tiote who does it in most games even when he shines otherwise.

  • ToonDarnSarf

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM

    Comment #37


    Of course the fans need to accept some blame! I don’t give a c**p what KK did his first period in charge when I’m considering his second. I think it’s pathetic that some people seem to think that KK and Shearer are beyond question because of their performances years ago.

    You might want to consider the bigger picture rather than just pointing fingers.

  • martoon

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #38

    Staying on the subject of advertising I’m no accountant but I thought advertising costs could be claimed against tax as a legitable expense. So surely if SD paid for the advertising they could offset it against tax and NUFC would obtain extra income – everybody wins 😉

  • Ciaran

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Comment #39

    Wow, just wow.

    Apparently some fans do not understand Mike Ashley, which is why they will never effect change.

    It would appear that some fans simply do not understand what certain people mean to this football club, and to this region.

  • Ciaran

    Nov 6, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Comment #40

    Always be suspicious of fans who take the side of the regime over the side of the fans of the club they profess to support.

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