Hatem Ben Arfa came on early in the second half on Saturday, and did a fine job for Newcastle, as he ran at and threatened the Manchester United defense, and the Frenchman made sure he was involved in the game.
Hatem Ben Arfa – in action on Saturday
And that gave some relief to the rest of the team, who were coming under some pressure from a more and more anxious Red Devils side as they tried to get the equalizer, as the second half progressed.
Alan Pardew is trying to make Ben Arfa a better player, by doing at least a couple of things.
One is to keep the player involved in a game, as he has a tendency to disappear sometimes, and the second thing is to track back on defense when he’s required to do that, which is not a natural part of Ben Arfa’s game, by any means.
But Ben Arfa and Alan Pardew can take some encouragement from the lad’s contribution on Saturday, as he was prominent in a positive way for Newcastle in those final 30 minutes, and was brilliant in working the stoppage time down along with Moussa Sissoko – and the Red Devils simply couldn’t get the ball back.
This is what Alan Pardew said about his player :
“I thought Hatem had a big part to play in that last bit. He was brilliant at keeping the ball, taking us up the pitch and giving us a rest.” “That is what I want him to do. If he plays like that, he is in the team.” “I think he now knows what I expect from him,”
The stats of Ben Arfa on Saturday are excellent, and reported in the Chronicle today, and he had a 90% pass accuracy and had 35 touches of the ball – and he did his part on Saturday.
And of course we are concentrating on areas that Ben Arfa can improve on – but he has enormous skills and technique, and he can win any game for Newcastle, and he’s scored some unbelievable goals for Newcastle in the three and a half years he’s been at the club.
If Ben Arfa can learn from what Alan Pardew is telling him - he will definitely become a much better player – and he’s already good – very good.
What Ben Arfa has to do is to continue to improve some of the weaker elements of his game, and keep involved in games, and if he can do that Newcastle are going to have an even better player on their books.
And to Ben Arfa’s credit, he has already become a better player since he arrived on Tyneside, and he’s matured as a person at Newcastle too.
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