Newcastle were without both Papiss Cisse and Hatem Ben Arfa for last night’s game with Swansea, which we lost 3-0, and both were out sick.
Hatem Ben Arfa – fit for Saturday
Alan Pardew has talked about losing two of his stars before last night’s surprise 3-0 defeat at the Liberty Stadium:
“We lost Papiss before the game, and we lost Hatem to a virus,” “We didn’t have those two options, which would have been nice.”
“We didn’t play as well as we did in that run, and all of those factors have given us this result.” “The team’s done brilliant. Let’s be honest. But we didn’t have the rub of the green.”
“Papiss, we’re going to have to wait and see.” “He couldn’t get his boot on. He was a bit uncomfortable. We’ll see how he goes.”
“Hatem will be no problem. He was up and about, though he was at home.” “We checked with him, and he was a lot better. Two more days, and he should be OK.”
“It’s a tough game at Old Trafford.” “They got beat, so there’ll be extra motivation for both teams.”
That’s an accurate portrayal of the game last night by Pardew – that we didn’t play well and we didn’t have the rub of the green, which we did have at places like White Hart Lane – so we really cannot complain too much – 12 points from the last five games is still an excellent return.
But now the challenge is to get something out of the game on Saturday at Old Trafford and Pardew will need to make some changes – and maybe that’s why he gave big Mike Williamson a break in the second half , when the capable Yanga-Mbiwa came on.
We need Newcastle to be somewhere near their best form on Saturday, if we are to get a result – and we must be more aggressive than we were last night at the Liberty Stadium – fortune always favors the brave.
We weren’t too brave last night in our approach to the game, and we didn’t get the breaks.
But Pardew will ring in some changes for Saturday, and we could see Ben Arfa get a start at Old Trafford, and if we see that, then we expect the Frenchman to work his socks off for the side.
That’s the only way he can keep a first team starting position at Newcastle – and he knows it.
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