Newcastle Star Becoming Better Player Under Manager’s Guidance

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.

ben arfa manchester united 1-0

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.

Comments welcome.

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91 comments so far

  • NUFCarter

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    Comment #1

    On Steven Taylor, i remember when Barcelona were apparently interested in him haha!

  • cyprus

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:34 PM

    Comment #2

    You sure are a Pard’s fan. If Pard is to go onto next level, he has to get Cisse – HBA – Guti back in the groove. Long may our rise last.

  • Shadow_Shearer

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:41 PM

    Comment #3

    I just hope we tie him down to a new contract. Which is not gonna happen if hes not getting games.

  • NUFCarter

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Comment #4
  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #5

    I’m not sure pardew is making him a better player, the lad has pretty much stood still in his development since he arrived. Still has the brilliant skill but all the problems that held him back from the top clubs.

  • NUFCarter

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Comment #6
  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Comment #7

    by the way…i don’t blame pardew for this, no other manager has done much to iron out his problems either, at least pardew keeps him in check, more than others have.

  • Our Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:02 PM

    Comment #8


    You know that a lot of what I said stems from yesterday’s debate, you are very staunch in your support for AP which is good because not many are, however I asked for some AP bandwagon fans to take a step back and be realistic, do you think we shouldn’t be in top 7th – 9th finish this season with the squad we have? You haven’t answered my question, a bit like yesterday when you tried to justify AP being a better manager than AVB, but then couldn’t back you argument up so sidestepped the question

    By all means have a check and get TDS to check (can’t remember if I was on the blog at the point of predictions) I certainly didn’t make a prediction but how many of those ppl that made predictions based their forecasts on the manager rather than the squad?

    I think the majority on here have stated that this is the best squad we’ve had since Sir Bobby Robson’s time. The realism I called for Martoon had a lot to do with certain individuals coming out & praising AP for the fantastic job he’s doing, I’m just pointing out that we are on par performance wise & in league table for where a squad like ours should be, I did praise him for Saturday just as I crucified him for Wednesday when he could and should have changed it within 20mins/25mins. Certain individuals hid behind Shelvey head-butt/none head-butt and referee decisions for the loss, refusing to blame AP because of their love for mediocrity (AP), the realism I ask for is don’t be afraid to criticise when he gets it horribly wrong (you won’t be a negger)!! Spurs, Chelsea & Man Utd fantastic results, losing to Hull, Sunderland & Striker-less Swansea bad results.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Comment #9

    our toon

    Just picking one point out there that tequila made….what do you make of AVB?

    I think the man is a poor manager, didn’t do well with chelsea…both di matteo and benitez did better with the side. Also at spurs he has done worse than harry redknapp and AVB had a gareth bale as a real goal threat which he wasn’t quite to that level under harry, more a winger with assists and the odd goal.

    For me AVB isn’t much better than your run of the mill prem manager, he is very very one dimensional. That system work for him at porto but it’s no good if you can’t adapt, something a lot of us, including myself at times, criticise pardew for.

  • 70TWO

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Comment #10

    What Carr seems to have done is select players that have proven themselves in other countries, can play in the Premiership and yet young enough to take a step up in ability. Some of the dead wood now needs cutting out and the same type of player bringing in with CL or Europa experience.

  • 70TWO

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    Comment #11

    On Steven Taylor,
    I was hoping Arsenal were going to bid for him a couple of seasons ago when they were short. He needs to rebuild his reputation fast and get some games under his belt, a month on loan would go some way towards that.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    Comment #12


    I agree. I think Carr has scouted well with the budget/age policy in place. Couldn’t do a great deal more really. Just missed the odd player, like benteke for the 7/8mil villa paid.

    I think now we have a reasonable squad, which i feel we do. Instead of getting 4/5 players for 3-5mil each we should maybe look to bring in 1 or 2 for maybe 10 mil each year. Improve the quality.


    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #13

    Car MOT – Only £14 (usually £54.85)

    In Newcastle, the Voucher lasts 12 months for all of those who have just (over) paid for their MOT. So whether your car has just passed its MOT or is due shortly this offer is for everyone.

  • Jonny

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Comment #14

    He needs to lose weight

  • Our Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    Comment #15

    Transfer Sage

    AVB, I’m pretty sure he won the EL with Porto which was no mean feat, personally I think he is a good manager who isn’t scared of egos or even trying to change things up, at Chelsea he was massively undermined by Terry, Lampard and Cole as previous managers have said these players have the owners ear and have too much power, he tried to change it and paid the price (I commend him for that). At Spurs he finished 5th last season 1 pt off champions league, he achieved what Harry did. This season he has made a lot of signings who will settle after a full season but he is in 6th not bad for a manager in the EL is it? He’s a manager who rubbished AP’s claims that Spurs problems are caused by EL and said that AP has his “OWN AGENDA” when it comes to that competition (pretty sure he was in the EL last season and finished 5th)

    He’s won more in his career than the overrated and overhyped Harry Redknapp, You have Judged AVB on 1 season and compared him to HR who was manager for 4 maybe 5 seasons!! Bale was a massive part of how they played as a team, but yet they lie in 6th 1 place above us with no sign of relegation.

  • Our Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Comment #16


    We’ve made him bulk up compared to last season, he looked fat against Arsenal in the last game but has come back this season looking more muscly.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Comment #17

    our toon

    redknapp had the team 4th two seasons in a row….AVB came in and they dropped to 5th, even with the emergence of gareth bale…to me he is worse than redknapp who has done very well in his career with the clubs he has had and always entertained.

    i’m not saying AVB is a bad manager, just don’t think he is comfortable of playing anyway other than the one he really likes, and it’s dull to watch in my eyes, very slow, not much zip to their play.

  • nufc 11

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #18

    When he was last back in the France team he was playing within a structure nice simple passes notting to fancy but effective he was developing the whole time since then he has fallen way back needs to trim down a bit to half a stone or so. He goes missing far to much when wen given cart blanch to roam around make sure he knows his role and stop the hollywood passes and shots from anywhere, and dribbling into dead ends and hell be a better player for it, Same thing is going on at the moment with one Davide Luiz at Chelsea maverick players have to learn to play for the team and fight for the cause I remmeber Ronaldo was like that one time and now look at him alot to be siad for it.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    Comment #19

    our toon

    at chelsea he went about it the wrong way too…he dropped lampard and terry just because the media deemed them too old…they have shown since he left how influential and key they are to chelsea playing well..he was a fool to drop them for non-footballing reasons

  • roy

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Comment #20

    I thought HBA was trying to get Man Utd back in the game with some of the ridiculous passes he was doing. The team is better with out him in it and if they can mug someone into buying him they should cash in.

  • Ian Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Comment #21

    132Charlie in the Gallowgate // Dec 9, 2013 at 9:49 PM
    Thanks for the financial data which supports the claims in Cassidy’s book. The two sites as you implied have expired- thanks for making the effort.

    Our Toon – What are these undercurrent of issues regarding the club that could be resolved if we all got involved with T4C?

    Any movement, for so called change needs to capture the hearts and minds of fans. Anecdotal evidence to date suggests that this has failed abysmally. I have frequently stated that as a starting point the formulation of a Mission Statement – which clearly outlines the specific aims and objectives would be a good idea.

    The march alienated a good number of the toon army because a number of the marchers carried sack Pardew banners. Pardew has only just started speaking after games to fans. Irrespective of your views the vast majority of fans are behind Pardew and the team.
    We just want to enjoy the rise of the toon- long May it continue.

    It’s not apathy on the part of the fans as you endlessly imply we just are not convinced by the facile approach of T4C.

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 2:59 PM

    Comment #22

    People cannot seriously think Pardew is a better manager than AVB and simply use this season as a yardstick. AVB narrowly missed out on top 4 last season and has had a summer of chopping and changing and has yet to find his best team or to have his players settle. I think they will perhaps fall outside the top 4 again this season, albeit only narrowly, and will be a much stronger side come next season.

    The football AVB plays is sometimes an attempt to be too perfect (something that can be labelled at Wenger and his Arsenal) side but I will never slate a manager who tries to play football the right way. I despise the ‘results at all costs’ approach by the likes of Pulis and Allardyce who play shocking football just to try and get points, but I can understand why they do it.

    AP is somewhere in the middle of that, and in recent games has been attempting to play a lot more football. However, tactically, he has nowhere near as much knowledge of the game as AVB does, and I do think AVB will go on to be one of the finest managers in world football. Bear in mind, he has only be managing for a short period of time and he is already a PL league manager with a Europa League in his back pocket…

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:00 PM

    Comment #23

    Interesting how Ian feels that he speaks for the vast majority of fans.

    Care to elaborate on this anecdotal evidence you speak of? Or is it more of a case of ‘I was speaking to fans during the Man United game’ and ‘I was in a pub in Jesmond discussing tactics following the Norwich victory…’

    If so, keep it to yourself because we all know you are talking bollocks.

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM

    Comment #24

    *levelled at Wenger

  • cyprus

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:07 PM

    Comment #25

    Roy my man.
    I TOTALLY disagree. Ridiculous passes? When?
    You must’ ve been searching hard.

  • Our Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Comment #26


    I’m astounded that you would think HR is a better manager the AVB, Spurs only been in CL once I believe under Redknapp, the season he got the boot they weren’t in CL. Tequila was using AVB as a rational explanation for why we war better off with AP…for the life of me I just don’t see it, lets see where both sides end up this season!! At Chelsea he went against the media by targeting the players he got trouble makers (Cole, Terry, Lampard) Lampard now plays a bit part under Mourinho and doesn’t complain, Ashley has been dropped and not a word, the players thought they had an easy target!! Unlike the Ba situation where he spat his dummy out wanting to play in the middle and then getting his wish before leaving

  • Our Toon

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:21 PM

    Comment #27


    Do you believe there are underlying issues at the core of the club? No ground advertising money, lack of investment in squad, no ambition off the pitch (10th position finish) return of JFK (the list goes on). These issues won’t get resolved sitting on you backside or going to games whilst fuelling the fire that starves the club of actually reaching its potential!! I commend T4C for actually attempting something, the majority believe the club is broken at its core and that’s down to the owner and his decisions, do you believe the club is maximising its potential?

    If not then apart from going to the local in Jesmond what have you proactively done apart from criticise a group that’s tried to achieve something!! AP only has the job because no one else would take the rubbish that comes with it (he’s Ashley’s mouthpiece) that’s why he gets a lot of stick, rightly or wrongly.

  • Charlie in the Gallowgate

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Comment #28

    Ian Toon
    I like you like the facts and figures and here is another set to get your brain around courtesy of:
    pent last 5 Years Gross

    1 Manchester City £640,650,000
    2 Chelsea £390,000,000
    3 Liverpool £304,450,000
    4 Tottenham £310,900,000
    5 Manchester United £229,750,000
    6 Arsenal £188,200,000
    7 Aston Villa £179,600,000
    8 Sunderland £153,630,000
    9 Stoke City £99,825,000
    10 Newcastle £93,150,000
    11 West Ham £81,850,000
    12 Southampton £75,350,000
    13 Everton £63,500,500
    14 West Bromwich A £50,745,000
    15 Fulham £50,580,000
    16 Swansea £48,455,000
    17 Hull City £41,525,000
    18 Cardiff City £29,695,000
    19 Norwich City £22,750,000
    20 Crystal Palace £18,800,000

    Sold last 5 Years
    1 Tottenham £306,300,000
    2 Liverpool £220,550,000
    3 Arsenal £192,400,000
    4 Manchester City £163,700,000
    5 Manchester United £128,800,000
    6 Newcastle £118,150,000
    7 Sunderland £103,700,000
    8 Chelsea £100,100,000
    9 Aston Villa £93,600,000
    10 Everton £75,816,000
    11 West Ham £54,800,000
    12 Fulham £39,700,000
    13 Swansea £29,860,000
    14 West Bromwich A £28,810,000
    15 Southampton £14,600,000
    16 Cardiff City £12,925,000
    17 Crystal Palace £9,750,000
    18 Stoke City £8,650,000
    19 Hull City £8,250,000
    20 Norwich City £1,100,000

    Profit/Loss on transfers in and out

    1 Manchester City -£476,950,000
    2 Chelsea -£289,900,000
    3 Manchester United -£100,950,000
    4 Stoke City -£91,175,000
    5 Aston Villa -£86,000,000
    6 Liverpool -£83,900,000
    7 Southampton -£60,750,000
    8 Sunderland -£49,930,000
    9 Hull City -£33,275,000
    10 West Ham -£27,050,000
    11 West Bromwich A -£21,935,000
    12 Norwich City -£21,650,000
    13 Swansea -£18,595,000
    14 Cardiff City -£16,770,000
    15 Fulham -£10,880,000
    16 Crystal Palace -£9,050,000
    17 Tottenham -£4,600,000
    18 Arsenal +£4,200,000
    19 Everton +£12,315,500
    20 Newcastle +£25,000,000

    “Nett total divided by the 5 giving an average of the money spent in transfer fees by each premiership club each season in the last five Seasons.

    1 Manchester City £95,390,000
    2 Chelsea £57,980,000
    3 Manchester United £20,190,000
    4 Stoke City £18,235,000
    5 Aston Villa £17,200,000
    6 Liverpool £16,780,000
    7 Southampton £12,150,000
    8 Sunderland £9,986,000
    9 Hull City £6,655,000
    10 West Ham £5,410,000
    11 West Bromwich A £4,387,000
    12 Norwich City £4,330,000
    13 Swansea £3,719,000
    14 Cardiff City £3,354,000
    15 Fulham £2,176,000
    16 Crystal Palace £1,810,000
    17 Tottenham £920,000
    18 Arsenal -£840,000
    19 Everton -£2,463,100
    20 Newcastle -£5,000,000

    Which goes to show you can be top or near the top and not spend a fortune to get there – just be sensible with your buying and selling

  • tequilamag

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:24 PM

    Comment #29

    Our Toon if the majority share your opinion how come the march could only muster a few hundred ? I mean it was on a match day so there were plenty of people in Newcastle already going to the game.

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:26 PM

    Comment #30


    Many were sceptical whether the march would go off peacefully. That is a practical reason, not one of ideology. Having taken part in the march, I can confirm that many lines the pavements in order to clap and cheer as the march went past.

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:28 PM

    Comment #31


  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    Comment #32

    our toon

    I’m not agreeing with tequila, just talking about AVB, not meaning to compare him with pardew myself. Redknapp had them 4th twice, the two seasons before AVB but missed out one year as chelsea came 6th but got in champs league at spurs expense as they won it…the year AVB gave them a bad start.


    I don’t think AVB is worse than pardew, but the man isn’t doing very well, playing dull football. Arsenal have rightly been labelled as over complicating the game but they still move the ball very quick and look for the perfect goal….spurs are flat, move the ball slowly and dont have the technical skill of arsenal players, not to play a technical game at pace anyway.

    I’d personally say AVB isn’t as good as the likes of pochettino, martinez, rodgers…all of those, not they have decent players, get the ball moved around much quicker…where spurs have gone backwards since AVB came in despite them spending a heck of a lot of money.

    Redknapp have them higher in the league and until a bad run the end of his final season they were around 3/4 points off top with only 10/12 games to go or so.

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Comment #33

    our toon

    lampard features less under mourinho but under di matteo in the season avb was sacked, and last year under benitez he played a big role, scored a lot. He was dropped far to soon and for political reasons, not footballing ones as he offered a damn site more than some.

    I would much rather have redknapp than avb any day, he has done a lot more in english football.

  • tequilamag

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    Comment #34

    Ciaran, I think I made the point before the march that it would be poorly attended because the majority of supporters did not share your sense of crisis at the club.
    The blog attracts people who are very vociferous in their opinions however I do not think it is representative of fans as a whole. Certainly from my own experience talking to supporters both at games and in general.
    If a few hundred had marched on say a wednesday when there was no match on then a few hundred would be deemed a decent turnout.
    Ian has alluded to what I think are the reasons time4 change has not really taken off . There has to be some meat in the message. Change to what and to whom. I have yet to hear a clear statement of what they want when MA goes. Who is waiting in the wings to take over.
    Sorry bur fan ownership does not cut it regardless of how desirable that would be because when push come to shove the fans are not going to dig deep into their own pockets to buy the club.

  • JackButler

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Comment #35

    I’d take Pochettino ahead of AVB any day of the week tbh as I prefer the way he has Southampton playing, but people are being too quick in writing off AVB, the guy has brought in a lot of new players who will all need time to settle.

    Redknapp is and always has been a cheque book manager and nothing more than a dodgy cockney spiv market trader

  • Transfer Sage

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Comment #36


    Credit to redknapp though he knows what he needs. He knew he needed a good AM to play off crouch so went out and got van der vaart, paid only 8 mil and got 2 good years from him before moving on.

    AVB didn’t do great last year, not bad but worse than redknapp had done the previous two.

    I don’t think AVB is bad, jsut find him dull and massively over rated, fair enough though as he won a quadruple at porto. just doesn’t seem to adapt to the english game

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:47 PM

    Comment #37


    I merely support T4C, I am in no position to answer questions about their long term strategy. However, I do think fan ownership is something that can be pursued if it was properly organised. If fans are unwilling to put hands in their pockets then that is something we would have to face up to at the time, but we cannot simply rubbish it as an idea because you have speculated that fans would not be interested.

    As for Ian’s allusions? Delusions more like.

    T4C are a pressure group for change that operate as a coalition of many fans groups. If MA deviates from the way he has ran the club over the years, then T4C can see that as success. If he ups sticks and leaves then that counts as success too.

    I think T4C’s main goal is to see MA leave the club, but right now I think they are in pressure mode with more coherent strategy to be worked out in due course.

  • JackButler

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    Comment #38

    Transfer Sage

    It’s way too early to be writing him off though, he’s not a manager who has his sides playing in a great, fluent style, his sides are more methodical, disciplined and measured in their approach..

    Regarding Redknapp, he was asked by the Spurs chairman if he wanted VDV as they had been told they could have him for what was a very good price and he agreed to it, he did not identify him as the player he wanted and it was a last minute deal.
    He is a good manager, I just don’t like the man as he has no class

  • Ciaran

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Comment #39


    I agree that Spurs do play a little more methodically than they should, and the speed of play is slower than Southampton, Liverpool and Arsenal. However, I do think he has assembled a very technically smart side and I do think their football will improve in the near future as this side gets more familiar with each other.

    Having said that, I would agree with JB that of all the coaches in the PL right now, I would take Pochettino in a heartbeat

  • tequilamag

    Dec 10, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #40

    Ciaran I appreciate you are a supporter rather than an organiser for time4change but if you don`t know what their long term strategy is then that suggests that there is no long term strategy.


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