At Top Clubs – Players Work Their Socks Off For The Team

When you see the best club teams in the world, what is very apparent rather quickly is that the players work their socks off for the side, and even more so when they don’t have the ball, and a great example of that is the world’s best player – Argentine Lionel Messi, who has world-class skills, but that doesn’t stop him from working like hell for both Barcelona and Argentina.

ben arfa runs wirth ball

Hatem Ben Arfa – Newcastle’s Lionel Messi

And one criticism of Hatem Ben Arfa when he plays for Newcastle,  is that he doesn’t work hard enough, especially in tracking back for the side.

Alan Shearer has been interviewed on talkSport today, and he talked about Ben Arfa currently being out of the Newcastle side, that has done so well in the last couple of games:

“I understand because he is not going to give you 100% work-rate and when you go to Tottenham and play Chelsea, you understand you are not going to have as much possession as those guys, and you have got to have 11 guys who are going to work very, very hard for you.”

“He won’t work hard for you.” “He will give you other things when you are playing the lesser teams, and he will produce fantastic finishes and goals and passes, but work-rate is not what you can associate with him.”

“You should never praise anyone for hard work because it should be a given.” “He doesn’t work as hard as others but he has got other skills that others haven’t.”

Alan is spot on about Ben Arfa, and certainly with the best European sides, working hard is a given – otherwise your are not in the team – it’s as simple as that.

And all you can do with Ben Arfa is to get him to work harder than he used to – and Alan Pardew has already done that – but as Alan Shearer says – in very tough games, he can be a bit of a liability.

But we are not writing Ben Arfa off at all, don’t get us wrong, and he still has a big part to play for Newcastle, and he can score those amazing goals, when class is the difference in a close game.

So we do expect Ben Arfa to get a run out in our next home game against Norwich City, because he could be the difference in say the second half.

What you have to do is use the ability that players already possess, and to an extent turn a blind eye to some of their deficiencies.

For instance you don’t want to tell Gareth Bale (or Ben Arfa for that matter) he cannot touch the ball with his left foot from now on, because his right foot is the weak one, and the goal is to make him better with his right foot. 🙁

Use the skills the players have naturally – and with Ben Arfa we’ve already seen some magnificent individual goals from this lad, and he’s the type of player who can get fans to the games and then get them out of their seats.

And he’s a Newcastle player too. 😀

What do you think?

Ian Begg is a reader who recently found out that his Mom was very ill, and he has to return to Australia. Ian has a Platinum Club season ticket that has £700 left on it, and he is willing to sell it for £650 or a best offer.

Please see if you can help Ian out, and you can contact him by email at – thanks.

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77 comments so far

  • G

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    Comment #1

    HBA isn’t the first Frenchman to be guilty of this. To be fair though, based purely on skill and ability HBA is still in a league of his own at the toon.

  • MosesNUFC

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    Comment #2

    My team for norwich:

    M’Biwa Williamson_____Coloccini Santon

    Sissoko Cabaye___________Tiote Gouffran

    __________Ben Arfa_________________


    I’d play ben arfa in a free role because i think thats his best position. But remember, norwich is just as hard as spurs, they will come here and look to get a result for hughton, we need to be strong, smart and not get complacent.

    Transferwise in january, we need a centre back, a winger, remy on a perm and another striker and possibly a playmaker (as cabaye may leave) Kurt Zouma, Tom Ince, Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Loic Remy would do me. But sadly, only with Damien Comolli and Mansour will we be able to get those players. JFK will probably sell cabaye, krul and benny and buy no one because no one will want to do business with him, plus he’s a crap businessmen anyway.

  • G

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:46 PM

    Comment #3

    @Moses, in fairness JFK said we should judge him on his signings. Can you honestly say that he made any bad signings? Seriously speaking though, from that list of players you put there, I would take your hand off for Lallana.

  • p

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #4

    Don’t know what you do with this guy? Undoubted rare talent but, is a luxury and to be honest tries to do too much.

    High quality coaching is probably what he needs to realise his true potential. He won’t find that at Newcastle any time soon.

    On balance, they are doing the right thing with him, making him earn his place in the squad and dropped when he does not deliver. Plus, they would sell him at a drop of a hat if a good offer came in. There are unfortunately other clubs and managers that could extract more value from him.

  • Our Toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Comment #5


    Sorry mate but Liverpool and Spurs defo have better squads than us, Spurs first: let these new signings settle for spurs they will start getting results. AVB isn’t a poor manager but he certainly wants the team to play in certain ways, Townsend, Dawson, Vertonghen, Sandro, Dembele, Defoe are just a few of there players who I think would walk into our team I haven’t included the new lads they’ve bought as they need to settle for them but have no doubt Lamela who is highly rated in Argentina, Eriksson who will come good and Soldado who will eventually come good (Like Giroud) Paulinho is the only one who has settled in straight away and looks class.

  • p

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    Comment #6

    @2, unfortunately Remy is off at the end of the season. He will end up at Arsenal or somewhere and I would not blame him for wanted a shot at champs league

  • Our Toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Comment #7



    Suarez, Sturridge, Coutinho, Gerrard, Enrique, Johnson, Agger, Possibly Skertal. I’ve not included the like of Sakho or Toure as they haven’t spent a season at liverfool but they would probably walk into our team. We have won a couple of games but both clubs are above us in the league and for good reason

    Lets not get to carried away with the 2 wins we got, fantastic yes but the manner of the Spurs win should be a concern for all…..we got hammered in that 2nd half, poor finishing, great saves (Most in PL) and some great defending got us the 3 pts!!

  • Our Toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 4:58 PM

    Comment #8

    Our leading goalscorer doesn’t even belong to us!!

  • Our Toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Comment #9

    On Benny its a tough one really, he came on against Citeh and created more chances in 5mins than we did for the whole game in open play, but he doesnt work hard enough!! I do think that he shouldnt play against the top 4/5 clubs especially away from home…..but at home he is the type of player that is needed to unlock the door!! Always start him ahead of Shola.

  • DokToon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Comment #10

    being theoretical for a second, what say if we get top 4 and qualify for CL? think remy stays then?

    again, its a theoretical question….

  • John Tudor

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:13 PM

    Comment #11

    dont you mean hypothetical dok

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    Comment #12

    Dok…the question is have we agreed a fee with QPR?

  • p

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    Comment #13

    @10, it might make it more attractive for Mr Remy but, let’s face it, most football players will pick Arsenal over Newcastle.

    He will get good wages and a decent chance of glory. They are a bit short on strikers and with all the games they play, he will get plenty of of chances.

    That said, some players – Ben Arfa seems to be one – are happy to stay somewhere where they are settled. Maybe Remy will settle in Newcastle, have enjoyed the season and the fans adoration, feel comfortable with his teams mates (most of them being French has got to help) and be satisfied with a mere 60K a week.

    On the other hand, going to one of the bog boys just may be too much of a lure for him, both in terms of money and glory.

    One thing for sure is that he is excelling at Newcastle right now and that can not be sniffed at, why change when things are going well?

    Regardless, his 7 goals (or whatever) have propelled us up the league and all things being equal (i.e. the season continues more or less as it has begun), he will deliver a top ten finish for us. That alone will have paid his loan fee.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #14

    Our Toon…be careful speaking that nonsense 😉

    …got told to leave the blog in not so plessant words by the one who shall not be named for saying something like that the other day 😉

  • DokToon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    Comment #15

    JT, you say po-tah-toes, i say theyre delicious whatever you call them 🙂

  • DokToon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #16


    are you referring to voldemort aka ciaran? lol

  • askar

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #17

    @p: Good Evening.

    I will never understand people talking about HBA’s work-rate and blah blah…Is defensive prowess necessary for someone like HBA? NO NO and NO!

    For example, Cristiano Ronaldo is a world class player but his defensive contribution is certainly on the weak side. I don’t think that Ancelotti will leave him on the bench! IMO, HBA is our Messi, our Ronaldo our Ozil our Suarez, PLEASE stop asking him defensive work!

    1. Create something out of nothing.
    2. Run at a defender with his wonderful footwork
    3. Score goals
    4. Provide assists

    STOP TALKING ABOUT HIS WORK RATE HERE! Play him, even after two bad games 🙂 🙂

    Thank you.

    Here is my NUFC team:

    ———————King Krull—————–




    ——————King Arfa———————


  • MosesNUFC

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Comment #18

    G, JFK has made 1 signing thats not even a transfer, and only an idiot would be stupid enough to not put a clause in there so we can buy him in january. We needed 2 or 3 top players in the summer and again, we didn’t get any. Darren bent pulled out of a move to us because he didn’t like the meeting with JFK (ino we don’t want darren bent, but for a player to turn us down because of the DOF is ridiculous)

  • MosesNUFC

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Comment #19

    Doktoon, i think if we finished lets say 6th and spurs finished 5th 6th or 7th, and us and spurs went in for him, i think he would choose us. I don’t think he’s thinking about his future atm, he seems to love it and seems to love playing for the toon in front of the best fans in the world 🙂 but in all honesty, it all depends on what JFK says to him and what deal he gives him. kinnear is not a director of football, him being our DOF is like a football manager becoming the manager of a basketball team (principle being that the manager doesn’t know anything about basketball) we’d all love to take llambias back because him and carr may not get many marquee signings but they certainly get a few good value for money players and get the best money they can out of players like cabaye and carroll

  • wolfshead@toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Comment #20

    stop having a go at jfk he does other good works beside nufc at the moment he has his hands full flying relief planes over the philliphines 🙂

  • Jackel001

    Nov 12, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    Comment #21

    Apart from deb, why change a winning team? keep him on the bench and then bring him on if we are comfortable for the last 30 min.

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Nov 12, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Comment #22

    Dok…the one who shall not be named is definitely not Ruddy 😉

    …Ruddy is more like Shelton Cooper lol

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Nov 12, 2013 at 6:50 PM

    Comment #23

    People are worried that Krul might be poached. IF he moves on would Fraser Foster come back to the TOON

  • bills-son

    Nov 12, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    Comment #24

    HBA didn’t get dropped for lack of work rate.

    He got dropped because he stopped doing everything he was good at.

    He hardly put a foot right in the games he played after that fabulous performance at Villa.

  • santonthenewmaldini

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    Comment #25


    Perfect comments about Arfa people clammering for him to come back into the team forgot how terrible he was the few games before he got dropped the Sunderland and Hull games were shocking he kept trying to beat people and shooting from silly angles rather than keep the ball or pass it

    We have created plenty of chances in the last few games without him we tend to keep the ball better when he does not play either I think our players shirk responsibility when he plays its easy to just pass to him and let him do the work when he is not on the field we seem to be a better balanced team


    On his day he can be a fantastic talent and he needs to get his finger out for the good of the team he is not a winger in the premiership but I think he would be perfect in a free role just behind Remy with the likes of Tiote, Cabaye , Sissko/Anita or Gouffran battling for everything behind him he could pick up the pieces and help us smash teams

    Lets hope the penny drops with him and Mbiwa watching France this weekend seeing 4 of his team mates strutting their stuff they should be there as well its only their fault they are not

  • santonthenewmaldini

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:07 PM

    Comment #26

    Also Its not just our club who tout their players our problem is we have no replacements ready but a lot of teams work like a business perfect example:

  • askar

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    Comment #27


    Why change a winning team?
    Because HBA needs games under his Belt. Keep him on the bench =You are not good to play for our team. We prefer to play Shola then bring Obertan, a less developed and less skilled players than you 🙂 🙂 That will cause him loss of motivation and confidence.

    As we all know, for HBA one of the most important elements is his self-confidence. And when he is confident, he can performs at his best level and that is what we expect from him.

    Pardew has to stop talking about his work rate. He also has to stop playing him out of position. I remember when Tevez said that his own talents were WASTED by being played out of position; Pardew STRUGGLED to manage big-name foreign stars; Pardew was WRONG to ignore the talents of fellow Argentine Javier Mascherano.

    Please Mr Pardew don’t do the same with HBA! It is so beautiful to see him running at a defender with his magic left-foot 🙂 🙂

    Love NUFC, Love King Arfa, King Krull and King Colo 🙂 🙂

  • Big Pappa Cissé

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    Comment #28

    I think this could be the making of HBA . He has now heard from multiple sources (Pundits, Fans, The Manager, Ex players) and even seen in our last two results he needs to work harder for the team In games .

    I would give him another chance against Norwich as he knows if he doesn’t graft he will be dropped and HBA isn’t the kind of player that is content with warming the bench .

    Shola still doesn’t do much when he starts and I think dropping him for Ben Arfa is the only change I would make at the minute :




    Also If Benny does lose possession it is against a team that isn’t as likely to punish us and also in a central role he doesn’t leave us vulnerable down the flanks .

    Thoughts ?

  • bills-son

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #29


    The oppo doubled and trebled up on HBA after Villa and the fact is he didn’t know how to handle it.

    The mistake he made was trying to dribble past the lot of them when he should have just passed short, moved, passed short, moved, until he created space.

    Passing short isn’t in HBA’s make up – he always wants to dribble or turn and run. Great when it comes off, or when the oppo stand off you like Villa did.

    Last year Tiote got caught in possession repeatedly because he stopped passing the ball short and quick like he did the first season. He thought he was a player and was trying to dribble and run with it. This season he’s cut that out and has got back to winning it and giving it.

    HBA needs to vary his game and not go for the showcase run every time. If he did that he’d immediately become more effective imo.

  • Mister Tuff

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM

    Comment #30

    wolfshead – absolutely disgraceful making jokes about JK.
    You should be celebrating our last two victories -not making negative comments. Such comments will drive fellow bloggers away. I will fully expect to see replies appearing as follows:-
    Booohoooo, booohooo call yourself a true fan – you are a neggar, trying to justify your hatred to our club – boohoo boohoo. You are your like are driving bloggers from the site — boohoo boohoo.

  • santonthenewmaldini

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #31

    @Bills Son

    Agreed the big question is will he actually get it ? Would love it if he just decided to perform like Suarez against Norwich

  • wolfshead@toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Comment #32


    i never realised there were jfk lovers! 😉

  • Mister Tuff

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Comment #33

    wolfshead – alright alright probably nobody likes him – but you made a joke -absolutely disgraceful. Any more of these antics from you – may lead to a good thrashing. Could I suggest 10oz gloves – I will check your gloves for any knuckledusters or horseshoes.

  • wolfshead@toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:41 PM

    Comment #34
  • askar

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Comment #35


    1. “Sunderland and Hull games were shocking”=AGREE WITH YOU. KEBAB WAS ALSO SH*** and shocking. For example, Ronaldo was sh** against Barcelona. So what?
    2. “Created plenty of chances in the last few games without him”= WRONG. Chelsea and Tot. are losing games against the like of Basel. We won without HBA, but I am sure that we also could have won with him on the pitch 🙂 🙂

    Please stop talking about one our two bad games from him.Remy, Sissoko, Kebab all of them were also sh** against Sunderland and Hull.

    FYI NUFC=17 points with:
    Ben Arfa=+6 points
    Remy + Gouf=+9 points
    Team=+2 points
    Team=-12 points.

    Please Mr Pardew GIVE HIM FREE ROLE BEHIND REMY. Thank you.

  • Mister Tuff

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    Comment #36

    wolfshead -you posted that image the other day.

  • wolfshead@toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Comment #37


    yes but i didnt paste it properly so every one might not have enjoyed it haha

  • Mister Tuff

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #38

    wolfshead – perhaps a better image here. Please note the figure on the left represents my good self -the gentleman.

  • santonthenewmaldini

    Nov 12, 2013 at 7:58 PM

    Comment #39


    Swiss football is on the up Basle were a ball hair from getting to a Europa league final despite having no budget at all we would struggle to beat them with a fully fit team

    We will never know if we would have beat Spurs and Chelsea with Arfa in the team all I know is we played a similar team who pressed us and hounded us (Everton) and he refused to offer any protection or contribution and was taken off at half time

    I like everyone else wants Arfa to do well at this club but the only way he will be able to do it is with a free role behind the striker lets hope Pardew gives him the chance cause it seems Pardew is starting to learn and improve maybe the plan is to have Arfa in a free role against weaker teams ?Heres hoping

  • wolfshead@toon

    Nov 12, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    Comment #40


    tres drole askar is a gent too he calls “percy” mr pardew haha


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