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News and Commentary On Newcastle United Football Club By Ed Harrison, A Proud Exiled Geordie And Lifelong Fan

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Howay The Lads!!

Ben Arfa Was Terrific – He’s Getting To Grips

12:54 pm, Sunday, December 8th, 2013 by Ed Harrison · 98 Comments

Hatem Ben Arfa came on yesterday after 57 minutes in the 1-0 win against Manchester United, and played well and held the ball up fairly well, especially towards the end of the game as Newcastle played out the three minutes of stoppage time to get a historic win – the first win at Old Trafford since way back in 1972 – and Newcastle were no less than magnificent – and made us all proud.

ben arfa manchester united 1-0

Ben Arfa tackles Wilfried Zaha yesterday

Certainly it seemed that Alan Pardew made some good substitutions yesterday and Ben Arfa for the hard-working Yoan Gouffran was the first attacking move, and Newcastle scored the winning goal just four minutes later through Yohan Cabaye, and Yohan was brilliantly set up by the ever improving Moussa Sissoko.

Alan Pardew was pleased with the contribution of Hatem Ben Arfa, who made his first appearance for Newcastle after a number of games out of the side – and this is what the Newcastle manager said after the game:

“The substitutes made a difference, particularly Hatem Ben Arfa. He is getting to grips with how I want him to play. He was terrific.”  “If you want to win at a top club, you can’t keep turning over the ball.”

Yesterday’s performance was terrific, and it will provide a base for the upcoming rush of games in December, and most fans think the next three games – at home to Southampton, on the road at Crystal Palace and at home to Stoke – will be easy games, but we don’t think so.

Southampton were the better side in the 2-2 draw with Manchester City yesterday at St. Mary’s, and  the Saints are maybe even a better side on the road than at home.

And Crystal Palace are in a resurgence under new manager Tony Pulis, and have 10 points and three wins in their last five league games, and a reviving Stoke side beat Chelsea yesterday 3-2 at home.

So as seems to be happening more than ever this season in the Premier League, any team can beat any other team on the day.

What Newcastle need to do is to play each game as it comes, and treat Crystal Palace in the same way we treat Manchester United, Arsenal or any other team, and only if we can keep doing that will Newcastle continue to have the great results the lads have produced in the least six games – with a very good 15 points.

Howay The lads!!

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Tags: Hatem Ben Arfa · Newcastle News · Premier League

98 responses so far ↓

  • 1 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM


    We know that Shola has fitness issues as he’s often been taken off after an hour. So maybe he’s not capable of playing at 100% and making runs for 90mins?

    He’s doing the job that he’s being asked to do now, he’s not being asked to run the channels, he’s being asked to hold the ball up and provide a physical presence. Did Shearer do much running in his latter years? Nope…he held the ball up, tried to poach goals, drew lots of fouls and hit the odd screamer.

  • 2 Ted Bundy // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Think it was more a self-induced fear on Man Utd’s part, standing off him, due to fear of what he could do, which allowed us to retain possession and stabilise. I don’t understand the level of plaudits he’s getting for a very average cameo, in which he still displayed his reckless streak, no less than when he played an idiotic 50 yard pass back to Santon that was almost cut out.

    Don’t see him getting back into the starting line-up on the wings, so he better take hi chance playing off Remy, when he gets it.

  • 3 Ketsbaia9 // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:03 PM

    To cap off and great day yesterday, some bloke followed me to a taxi rank and asked me if I was gay. Lol what an end to a terrific day.

  • 4 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Did you make him breakfast ?

  • 5 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Would love to see HBA start against Southampton but believe he may struggle and prove to much of a risk with their high pressure, counter attacking game. The cross / back pass was a heart in mouth moment but the majority of his play was good, just like Anita. If he keeps building up game time, with the odd start and a goal or two, things will improve.

  • 6 toonbrother // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:11 PM

    HBA did well but he wasnt spectacular. sounds to me like Pardumb is looking for any excuse he can find to drop Gouffran and reinstate Hba in the first team same way he dropped Mbiwa and reinstated coloshitty into our back line.Decisions like these send the wrong message to the players.

  • 7 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    70TWO, HBA has come in for a lot of stick but is still a huge asset for us. If the penny drops that it is about the team rather than a showcase for his dribbling skills he still has a big future for us.

  • 8 scout // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Where did he follow you from that’s the question

  • 9 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    I thought HBA was excellent. He held onto the ball, provided an outlet and managed to use up a lot of time. Sure, his pass to Santon was a little odd, I did wonder if it was meant to be a cross-field ball and he mis-hit it though.

    They used HBA as an outlet and he was strong and skilful in maintaining possession. I don’t understand why people are so quick to get on players’ backs. I’ve been saying for weeks that HBA was useless when trying to keep a lead but he did exactly what was needed yesterday.

  • 10 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    The only reason Shola Ameobi is at a club like NUFC is because of a cheap owner.

    NUFC fans will never want players like Chamakh, Jerome and kenwene jones at NUFC who are 10 times the caliber of
    Shola Ameobi

    41 PL goals since 2000. 41!

  • 11 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    There’s a fairly big list of players that some fans were unhappy about us not signing…how many of them have actually done something well at another club?

    I can think of the following who definitely haven’t (yet): Bony, RvW, Ruiz, Gervinho, Pieters, Bent, Graham, Moses, Zaha, Carroll and Maiga.

    Hooper, Fer and Redmond have been ok for Norwich but only Fer has looked top drawer and we have a lot of competition in that area.

    Did we really miss out on any players that moved to other teams for decent fees?

    Oh yeah…and ludicrously, I could have added several mackems to that list. Can’t believe some people were saying that we should have signed several players that moved to them in the summer. Then we really might be in a relegation scrap!

  • 12 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Himanshu Dhingra

    You really are a negative fool you know. So you’re also questioning the judgement of the late great SBR who rated Shola?

  • 13 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

    HD Boring boring boring

  • 14 bills-son // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Lets face it, earlier on in the season before we hit this run of form HBA was the biggest hope we had of pulling something out of a game. He will have felt that and I’m sure that in part contributed to him continually trying to pull off worldy runs and shots.

    I keep saying, HBA got dropped because those runs and shots were dying the death, the lack of tracking back was secondary.

    Pardew clearly wants HBA in the team, he said that after yesterday’s game, and if he can get HBA playing in a more disciplined way we could still see him turning into one of the Prem’s top players. It would be such a waste of talent if he didn’t.

  • 15 welshgeordie9 // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    How many players do we need to to sign in January or in the summer to make us a top 4 or 5 team.

  • 16 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Pardew has earned some respite from criticism, so I will just say he is handling HBA. The big question is how is the most likely to replace for Cabaye? If he plays Shola it will be another backward step, but who?
    Hopefully Pardew will keep the same formation, Sissoko could come into the middle but also Marveaux if he is up to it. If Sissoko moves, who do you bring on the wing? A full list HBA / Sammy / Guiterrez. Or would you bring Remy out to the left and play Cisse up front?

  • 17 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    70 TWO earned some respite from criticism ? 5 wins out of 6 including wins against Spurs Chelsea and Man U. How about earned some praise.

  • 18 Big Pappa Cissé // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:26 PM

    Since Southampton like to keep possession & press high up the pitch I would go for this team considering Cabaye is missing :




  • 19 DevonToon // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    Not sure a 1 win in four on the road this year qualifies the saints as good on the road ed…

  • 20 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I thought that was praise!
    No I have said elsewhere that all 15 including the manager deserved man of the match yesterday.

  • 21 Ted Bundy // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    Ahhhh, everyone’s going to be so disappointed when Shola starts against Southampton. Not me! Everyone presuming he is going to be omitted.

  • 22 ~Anita One Bites The Dust~ // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:32 PM

    The thing is.. we are getting all these points off the big teams.. its our form against the mid-bottom table teams that are costing us points.

    If we had won against Sunderland, Beaten Hull and played against everton for 90 minutes (the way we played in the second half)

    We would be Top of the table with 35 points… (with Arsenal having a game in hand)

    We gotta be consistent. Can’t just turn up for the big games. I’m not saying we would end up winning the league… would just be nice to see us show the same amount of respect for each team and play the best we can regardless of who is in the other half rather then play half ass against teams who don’t have a ‘big name’

  • 23 Tsunki // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Good grief Indian still has that record on the player.

    Sorry to disagree but Hatem coming on effectively took all the sting out of what was shaping up to a classic manure late rally. To single out a solitary pass as proof he was terrible is inept and transparent. He pegged 2-3 players each time he had the ball, kept possession well, made passes into areas he had created space for, drifted onto both flanks to cause confusion in their back line….yes he is having to accept team discipline but you have to accept he is an immense talent and if we can get it railed into the team like his last two short performances he could be influential in the last half of the season.

  • 24 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Don’t read if you don’t like it.

    Yes Even great managers sometimes get things wrong. Even Alex ferguson bought in players like Djemba-djemba, kleberson and Veron.

    in my 12 years following NUFC, Shola has been one of the worst players at Newcastle

  • 25 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Get HBA in for Cabaye for Southampton.

    Only change I will make.

  • 26 Ketsbaia9 // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Just for about a minute down the street. Wondered why he kept looking at me. Was just lurking around in seek of a late night bum.

    We need 3/4 new players to challenge for a top 4 spot. I’d be surprised if we didn’t sign anyone given the position we’re in. We need a striker, centre back and a Coutinho type player. Man Utd are like Liverpool 2 seasons ago. Liverpool have strengthened well in Sakho, Coutinho, Sturridge and Moses. Rogers is taking them in the right direction.

    Remy is a better signing in comparison with Soldado. Spurs need 2/3 new strikers to compete. Our fullbacks are the best in the league. Love watching them play.

  • 27 Tsunki // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:35 PM

    Why wouldn’t Shola start against Southampton? There’s a back line that needs outmuscling.

  • 28 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:37 PM

    70TWO , fair enough, Rotonda who was one of Pardews biggest critics last year praised Pardew when we won the 4 on the trot and I thought fair play to him, as soon as we lost to Swansea he reverted to his fallback position that Pardew was useless. We need to get away from just picking a stance based on what just happened in the last game and take a more measured approach .

  • 29 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Just My choice.

    He may well start.

  • 30 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Interesting theory that the most virulent homophobes are over compensating as they are conflicted about their own sexuality.

  • 31 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:40 PM

    Fair play to pardew,

    He got things right yesterday, I personally would have gone with same side against swansea.

  • 32 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Wow…Shola has been one of the worst players at Newcastle in the last 12 years? Even in his position I can think of Cordone, Andersson, Guiv’arch, Tommasson, Chopra, Gallacher, Cort and Bridges who were worse and that’s just off the top of my head!

  • 33 Ketsbaia9 // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Kleberson and Veron were good players. Veron did well at Man Utd.

  • 34 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    If Veron was such a good player for Man U why did they sell him within 2 years for half what they paid for him?

  • 35 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    I thought he was very sincere in the BBC interview, admitting that although the team were lacking against Swansea that he also made wrong decisions. In the past he has often come across very arrogant and unwilling / unable to change. Hopefully his aspiration to replicate SBR will elevate him with all fans, he has had to operate with his hands tied and the odd obstacle not of his own making. If he keeps the formation and generates a squad that can replicate the same performance week in week out, to me Pardew will transcend Keegan.

  • 36 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Some fans at NUFC think with their hearts rather than their heads.

  • 37 Rotonda heights // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:50 PM


    I give praise and criticism in equal measure where it is warranted.

    Pardew himself admitted he was at fault with his tactics for the debacle at Swansea and I was frustrated we had lost a very winnable game against a team who played 3 matches in 6 day and had no strikers!

  • 38 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Rotonda Ok then without looking at individual games but the season as a whole what is take on Pardew this season so far?

  • 39 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    I do often wonder if Pardew knows what he is doing and would someone like Benitez or F. de Boer do a better job. But in the circumstances and constraints of the moment he is doing something right.

  • 40 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:55 PM


    Transcend Keegan??? Are you mad?

    Keegan was part of a double act with SJH who took this club out of the doldrums and oversaw the most exciting season for our club within most fans’ lifetimes. A manager would have to win the league to transcend that.

    No point in going from everyone slating Pardew to claiming that he’s an incredible manager…

  • 41 DevonToon // Dec 8, 2013 at 1:58 PM

    Very soon ameobi will be back on the bench and we will have benny and goof playing off remy! Toon brother ur a knob! I really hate ur colo slating! The guys an effin legend! Best cb weve had since woodgate! The guy oozes class! 2nd best cb in the league!

  • 42 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:03 PM

    I was waiting for that.
    I should have said ‘could’ not ‘will’. Anyway am I wrong in thinking you were one that supported the long term plan?
    8 year contract to establish NUFC in the top half and then the CL. Admittedly when I pressed ‘submit’ I realised it was slightly out of my character to back Pardew.

  • 43 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM


    Hehe. Fair enough.

    I back Pardew and I’m all for the long term plan. I think the 8 year deal is partially to establish some stability at the club and partially as a trade-off for Pardew’s rumoured highly incentivised contract.

    I am very happy with Pardew right now and I think he’s the right man to get us into the top 8 this season and hopefully beyond that next season. But is he a good enough manager to take us into the CL and then continue to compete? Time will tell…

  • 44 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Fulham 2 up against Villa. Not Sunderlands best weekend

  • 45 theartfuldodger // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Manu fans should be following the villa fulham game. Villa,swansea are their competition this season for a top half finish.

  • 46 asenski // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    I support the opinion about shola- the only reason he fits in the team now is that his role given by pardew fits best with the football the manager tries to produce.
    Any other proper target man would mean bench for shola + scoring of goals of course

  • 47 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Saying HBA was terrific is definitely a stretch too far. He held on to the ball, passed it a bit more and provided a decent outlet at times.

    Is that all it takes to be called terrific? Me thinks this is an attempt on Pards’ part to force HBA to wake up and do the simple things more often.

  • 48 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Ciaran pretty much agree on that post.

  • 49 70TWO // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Referring to the CL and reflecting on last season, I don’t truely believe it was all down to the depleted squad. Pardew needs to learn a thing or two, which he recognised in yesterdays BBC interview.

  • 50 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:15 PM


    We can all learn a thing or two mate. My point was that I think he’s a decent manager for us right now, but I am not convinced that he’s the right man to take us into the CL. But if he gets there then he’ll have earned his chance to have a go at least.

  • 51 ToonDarnSarf // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:17 PM


    I think HBA was terrific for doing the job that he was supposed to do. 20 mins or so to go, we needed a player to be that outlet in their half and to ensure that we didn’t give the ball away needlessly. Obviously there were several players who performed for 90+ minutes in a victory so HBA shouldn’t feature highly in a MotM survey, but he’s a confidence player who hasn’t been doing his job recently so giving him a public boost for finally grasping what he should do isn’t a bad thing is it?

  • 52 Ian Toon // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Who are these football visionaries who have the effrontery to find fault even after Pardew and the team is written into Geordie folklore!

    Unlike recent visits to Old Trafford the pace and energy was provided by the toon- on and off the field. Aside from the toon army choir, OT resembled a library. Tiote and Sissoko ensured we remained on the front foot and highlighted the lesser united as being also less committed. No such hair dryer treatment needed for the toon who were highly motivated and a team on a mission from the off.

    It’s beyond understanding that Pardew is not being lauded for his tactical acumen. We played with discipline and through an enforced midfield controlled possession and concentrated on attacking down our right flank where Evra was a noticeable weakness.

    Timmy had so little to do . Helped by Hernandez’s- playing alone upfront – and displaying poor hold up play. It clearly showed his limitations in playing from the start rather than a cameo role as an impact sub. Reinforcing my view that you have to contribute a lot more than largely just closing players down. The lack of link up play between him and Van Persie meant our CB’s were rarely really troubled. For me Januzal was the sole visionary in the side lacking craft and industry.

  • 53 bills-son // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    TDS @ 32

    Some right turkey CF’s there but I’ll give you two of the worst who were both at the Toon at the same time.

    Step up George Reilly and Tony Cunningham.

    Not far short of 13 foot between them both with feet for dancing only. Jackie Charlton had Waddle and Beardsley on the wings plus every other player firing high balls towards these two planks. Balls on the floor were a strict no no for these two.

    My brother had played with Tony Cunningham and told me his first touch was always a throw in.

    Shola is Messi standard compared to these two. And, seriously, that is not an exagerration.

  • 54 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    We could/ should have won at Old trafford last season on the boxing day.

    That day we had a MF of Anita, Perch and Bigi.

    Front line of Ba, Cisse and Marveaux

  • 55 Ian Toon // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    ToonDarnSarf- @50 . I agree it’s only the football lights who fail to recognise what the football fan at large has appreciated for some time.
    I still meet some of our fans who loathe him because he’s a so called cockney. Just not worth bothering with – appreciate the positive nature of the blog.

  • 56 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:27 PM


    Not saying it is a bad thing in the slightest, but HBA’s contribution to that victory pales in comparison with the likes of Debuchy, Willo, Colo, Cabs, Tiote, Anita et al.

    Not knocking what he did bring to the table, and perhaps his introduction gave Man U something different to think about that afforded us an extra bit of space to exploit, which perhaps was crucial. I do, however, think HBA get’s too much praise for average things, and not enough criticism for the things he does wrong.

    Personally, I would much rather praise Tiote, Williamson and Debuchy who were sensational for 90 minutes. Anita’s second half performance was top drawer and Sissoko had Evra in his back pocket all game. Do these players not deserve as much, if not more, public praise than HBA?

  • 57 Ian Toon // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    HBA- Is a more fragile personality. Therefore I can see why Pardew praised his contribution- also highlighted the brilliant substitutions and timing. We killed off the game by presenting a very different problem to overcome. Also was sufficient time to warrant HBA being fully integrated into the side. The team message might now have been taken on board.

  • 58 Magpies-till-d3ath // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:36 PM

    I’m telling you, a striker, centre half and maybe a winger and we’re flying! For once Mike Ashley, I’m not asking for that much! ????

  • 59 JackButler // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    What a difference a manager can make. Fulham look a completely different side now that Jol has been replaced

  • 60 santonthenewmaldini // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    The reason why Tiote , Sissoko and Anita did not get as much praise is because they are already performing as Pardew wants them too he is trying his best to get Arfa to perform to their level imagine if Arfa could play like Sissoko does on the left wing ? we would be very hard to contain with 2 wide players on their strong foots with that level of work rate and talent

    For me Gouffran is not a winger I would prefer him up front either up front with Remy or rotating with him and Cisse depending on the opponent its Arfa that needs to just wake up and get it starting with Southampton next week

  • 61 yo-yo // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    HBA has to believe he has a future at the Toon and he is a regular first pick, As for us – we all want his strengths developed and his weaknesses reduced. It’s just a bit of AP man management. He has 25 squad egos to manage remember – and footballers are not known for being shy and retiring or self effacing. Somebody said being a professional athlete was the most egotistical way of life possible – being a footballer doesn’t come too far down the ladder.

    I hope Benny does play the way Pards wants him too – and contrary to some other bloggers I do think Pardew is capable of getting the best out of the players – just not all the playerts all the time. If we do get another 5th then Pardew will have grown as a manager and might even be worth keeping as the other candidates mentioned on here haven’t done that well (and I’m one of them as I wanted Jol three years ago).

    Our leccy and broadband have been down and our sat dish got blown away in the gales last week so I’ve missed the MU game – but every press comment and highlight I’ve picked up on was all Man U and not enough credit given to the Toon – even Radio 5 live was a bit biassed despite the Geordie presence. Love the head tennis clip though !

  • 62 Toon Tang // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    I see the MOTD editing room floor was covered in toon footage again. They made it look like complete 1 way traffic throughout the whole game when we actually had more possession and more shots.

    I wonder if its howard webb doing the cutting

  • 63 Yohan Kebab // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Benteke doing a Cisse

  • 64 jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew // Dec 8, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Ruddy…I don’t know what it takes to called terrific these days but I would say that argument could be used about Shola as well?

    …and I would assume tequila would not agree this time ;-) but hi we all call it as we see it right?

  • 65 Ketsbaia9 // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Haha I noticed that. They were only showing the Man Utd chances. It looked like Man Utd dominated the game when they actually didn’t. United aren’t good enough. Liverpool are more of a threat.

  • 66 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    Jesper I am confused, what would I not agree on ?

  • 67 JackButler // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    We all want to see HBA playing at his best as when he is at his best he’s a very special player, but when he’s not at his best he’s nothing more than a passenger who watches the game pass him by,

    Berbatov is the exact same player with spell’s of sheer brilliance hidden away amongst the very, very poor

  • 68 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    We all know that Pardew’s comments are about man managing HBA, it is just that I have gotten to a stage where I am sick of HBA being molly coddled and would simply like him to put up or shut up. If he isn’t going to do it on a regular basis off his own bat then he should not be at this club.

    I would love to see HBA firing week in week out but I fear that regardless of how well man managed by AP he is, that will never happen.

    When it comes to singling out players for perhaps one of the most famous victories we have ever had, there were much more viable candidates. Personally, I would have set aside any notions of HBA’s ‘fragile personality’ (which is based on what evidence?) and simply praised those who deserved to be praised.

    Once more, not knocking the fact that AP chose that route, or that HBA doesn’t need a different style of management. Just pointing out that we have a squad of players with personalities and egos, not just HBA.

  • 69 JackButler // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:14 PM


    HBA has been the same his entire career, he seems to lack the inner drive or self motivation to want to try to perform at 100% all of the time.

    A point in time will come when we simply have to say enough is enough and realise the lad has been given ample opportunities to shine and simply hasn’t taken them

  • 70 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Jesper I have no issue with you referencing me on a post, though invariably it is a snide comment with a little smiley. But at least have the balls to explain yourself when I ask you to clarify your opinion.

  • 71 yo-yo // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Has Benny been ‘molly coddled’ ?
    Hear the odd story about him throwing toys about in training but – after all he’s been dropped – so he’s hardly getting preferential treatment.
    The interview I heard had Pardew praising the entire team to the skies so his choice of namechecking is clearly tactical – and we just do not know what he has said to individuals in private.

  • 72 yo-yo // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    FIVE points adrift at the foot of the table… Looking good for the unwashed this Christmas..

  • 73 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Yes HBA has been molly coddled. This sequence plays over time and time again. He gets dropped, comes back for a few games and plays decent and gets lauded to high heavens. While AP may be praising the others in private, it would be nice to see Pards paying compliments to Debuchy for example who put in as good a full back performance as I have seen from anyone in the Premier League this season.

  • 74 Ted Bundy // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:27 PM


    Some of the squad heading out for their Xmas do –

  • 75 Ian Toon // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Jesper – For the half hour he played HBA did everything asked of him.
    He made a contribution to the overall victory. I too would hope that he can continue to play for the team because he is an undoubted talent.
    The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I hope I can soon praise him and say he was terrific but not yet because he needs to be motivated. Pardew does have to find a way to integrate him into a side that is performing very well without him for the broader good.

  • 76 potski // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    HD Shola worse than Cisse at the moment?

    If we have to play a forward who is not prolific at scoring goals then I would prefer someone who causes problems for defenders, wins the ball in air and holds it up to allow Remy, Gouffran, Sissoko and Cabaye to get forward.

    I like Anita, but recognise he probably isn’t good enough to consistently create chances for the forwards and be a goal threat himself in a two man midfield with Tiote, especially against top teams. But he gives us the option to play three in midfield and for occasional games to play with Tiote or with Cabaye.

    Shola makes 4-4-2 a good formation for us, to play two solid banks of 4 when we don’t have the ball, and burst forward with pace when we get the chance. Remy and Cisse would not be so effective together, neither are great with their backs to goal. And I’m not convinced that HBA would. With the ball at his feet he can be great, but will he battle for balls in the air?

    Our first team consists of 13 top players at the moment. All need FULL credit for the recent run and the deserved win yesterday. Discipline, hardwork and enough skill going forward to get enough goals to bring those results.

    And those 13 are those who have started recently.

    Five defenders, Debuchy, Santon, Willo, Collo and Mbiwa with the versatility to play anywhere across the back four. He has not been dropped as suggested by the toon botherer but remains available to slot in for injuries, bans etc. Or even if we wanted an additional defender to shut up shop at the end of a game.

    Five midfield, Cabs, Tiote, Sissoko, Gouffran and Anita.

    Two centre forwards Shola and Remy. Plus Krul.

    There is enough there to compete with any team in the league, they proved it not just over the last six games but in the games before. And they can defend and attack and play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. So Pards has options in tactics to start a game or to change it during a game.

    Can we do what we did two years ago? I think not, in that season Everton were not as strong and Liverpool were poor. Both are probably stronger than us now, plus Southampton have come into the equation.

    I need only one player to come in – someone who can hold the ball and cope with physical side and get some goals. A Shola upgrade in case Remy is injured and we are then completely reliant on Gouffran etc to score. I think Cisse unfortunately is finished. Plus Sholas contract ends in June. I wouldn’t bet against Gomis coming, they have proved before they are more than willing to be patient and go back and back again with their target players. Whether he is an upgrade on Shola only time will tell, but this management team owner, Chairman/DoF, Manager and Chief Scout have proved over the last few years they can recruit top players without breaking the bank, who can do the business for the toon. Bring in Gomis give him six months to settle into life in England and the demands of the prem, then we hopefully have a top player for next season when Shola moves on. I for one will cheer him to the rafters on his last game, and be watching every game he plays for Nigeria. He deserves it for his goals against the Maccems if nothing else, and he’s a Geordie. Personally I think if he was white he would get more credit for playing in the prem for so long, and his contribution to the cause. He is a true local hero, and we should delight in his success. Of course we would like another Shearer but he is a local player who comes along only once in every 50 years. And I for one are more likely to take note of the ex-player pundits on TV, and the evidence of own eyes than some of our own “fans” who we know would prefer to be on marches and demos, than watching football. Nothing, even beating Man U at OT will satisfy them, as success on the pitch diverts from what the see as the main agenda of driving out the owner and the people he has appointed. Now we even see them attempting to claim that their pathetically supported march has caused the players to change their attitudes and the Ashley haters are the true reason for the recent run of good form. Not the manager that Ashley appointed, nor the players he has authorised being bought. Only Krul and Shola are now pre-Ashley. This management team brought in Tiote, Debuchy, Collo, Cabaye, Santon, Mbiwa, Ba, Gouffran and Sissoko. All top players who have been magnificent. It’s time some people accept that Ashley has got things right on the pitch.

  • 77 Ted Bundy // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    The investigation continues into who is Chewbacca –

  • 78 Ancientcoptic // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Ben Arfa, who personally forced a move to Newcastle because he wanted to play for the fans at St. James’ park… the player who is without doubt, the most talented player in our squad… yep, it is about time he found a new club :s

  • 79 tequilamag // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:49 PM


  • 80 yo-yo // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:53 PM

    Ruddy – Ian@75 pretty much says it all.

  • 81 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    FA cup draw imminent

  • 82 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Yo yo

    I’m pretty sure that is the sentiment that I expressed, so I don’t see what you are directing me to.

  • 83 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:00 PM


    He forced a move from Lyon to Marseilles, what is your point?

  • 84 WWSBRD // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Now am certainly not one to be over the top with praise for HBA in fact am probably a bit the other way but yesterday he was great considering he hasn’t played for a good long while and just came back from a injury

    He looked like a footballer again and he wasn’t our only outlet which is what both us and he really needed, if he finds space hes dangerous but if hes the only person to ever get the ball then hes never going to get that space

    Plus he and Shola running down the clock in the corner just put a big smile on my face along with him getting in Moyes’s face :)

  • 85 bills-son // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:10 PM


    Your point about only Krul and Shola being pre-Ashley is one I’ve made before.

    It was Ashley who set the policy of bringing in quality foreign players under 27 near the end of contracts for relatively low fees. He had his fingers burnt not just on players but on high wage contracts when he first took over.

    Fans claim the signings are all down to Carr but that is far too simplistic a view.

  • 86 Ancientcoptic // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Ciaran, I made my point… feel free to read it again, maybe it will sink in 2nd time around ;)

    All the best with that.

  • 87 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:14 PM

    The fact he went on strike does not demonstrate his desire to be at our club given that he has done it before to force a move to Marseilles (a club he then went on strike with to force a move to us)

    It shows his petulant nature, not his love for Newcastle. Feel free to continue with your false held sense of smugness though.

  • 88 JackButler // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:15 PM


    It’s not really a too simplistic view as it’s Carr who has the contacts that tell’s us who is coming to the end of their contracts, Carr is the one who identifies which of those players will be any good for us and Carr who recommends the players that we sign, with the exception of Obertan and we all know how that one’s working out.

    In all fairness we have proven time and time again that we do not need to spend big money to get quality into the squad but what we do spend needs to be spent at the right time

  • 89 Ancientcoptic // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I heard a rumour that Ben Arfa is an attacker… shock horror, maybe he should be allowed to be an attacker, without defensive responsibilities.

    I am sure Keegan would have had few problems with HBA.

    If Benny does not fit in the Pardew system, then that is not Ben Arfa’s fault; some managers want 11 work horses… some managers prefer the luxury of a few champagne players.

  • 90 Himanshu Dhingra // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Cardiff at Home :)

  • 91 Ancientcoptic // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    ”The fact he went on strike does not demonstrate his desire to be at our club”

    Actually, it does. LMAO

  • 92 Ancientcoptic // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Ben Arfa said: “It was always my first choice to come here and I’m delighted to be here. “I have paid real attention to the history of the club and the great players to have played for it, and particularly the supporters, and I want to showcase my skills in Newcastle.

    “All I’m waiting for is to show what I can do in front of the public in Newcastle.

    “A lot of my friends in France already know the fans’ reputation. The stadium has an ambience that is unique and I feel very lucky to have this opportunity.”

    Straight from the horses mouth. :)

  • 93 Ciaran // Dec 8, 2013 at 4:26 PM


    Nothing to do with the fact that he hated Deschamps? Of course not…

  • 94 Douglas // Dec 8, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    Can you post a summary?

  • 95 Oh Gino // Dec 8, 2013 at 8:52 PM

    Dam Ciaran, your comments are as clueless as your blog. You, yo yo, jackbutler, ted bundy, manxpie, toonking, transfer sage , and ll the ben arfa s haters are so stupid. He s the only gamechange in this team, and saved us 2 times this season and had 2 bad games after. He should and must play every games.

  • 96 askar // Dec 8, 2013 at 9:50 PM

    Hello everyone,

    Ciaran, I am not agree wit your comments on HBA. IMO, HBA is our most creative player. What are you waiting from him? defensive work? Playing Hull wasn’t as easy it’s sounds, and after this we have had four tough away games and two fixtures, home to Fulham and away at Villa, and HBA scored in. Win and 6 points! Thanks Mister Arfa. He was terrific in theses games.

    Then yes he was average against Sunderland and Against Everton. So what? He should play even after two or three bad games! Give him free role.

    For Your information:

    Manchester City:HBA magic
    West Ham Utd:HBA magic
    Fulham:HBA Magic (3 points)
    Aston Villa:HBA Magic (3points)
    Hull City:HBA average
    Leeds United:Bench
    Everton:HBA average
    Cardiff City:Bench
    Sunderland:HBA Average
    Manchester City:bench
    Norwich City:Bench
    Swansea City:Bench
    Man Utd:HBA was terrific!

    Don’t ask him defensive work, give him free role behind remy and then you will see how good he is.

    Ciaran:Do you remember what you were saying about TIOTE?…And I told you that you were wrong. Tiote is good.Again I am telling you you are wrong on HBA. HBA is good, Pardew has to use him properly. But I respect your opinion :-) :-)

    Anyway, with or without HBA, win, win and here we are in the top four :-) :-)

  • 97 lesh // Dec 8, 2013 at 10:29 PM


    Pi$$ed, desperate ir what….. Poor f#@$R

  • 98 remember69 // Dec 9, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    I thought HBA was terrific when he came on. He drew defenders and protected the ball. Perhaps in the past he was too selfish and looking for personal glory but yesterday he was really a team player.

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