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 – 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?