We’ve been pleasantly surprised at just how mature Hatem Ben Arfa has been this season, when it must be frustrating that the Frenchman is not starting in the Newcastle first team, but he does is best when he does get on, often late in the game and last Saturday he made a great 10 minute cameo performance to help seal the great 3-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Ben Arfa – after scoring penalty last Saturday
The winger has started precious few games for Newcastle since August, but still has very good stats and in 15 appearances this season he has three goals and four assists, and scored the late penalty at Selhurst Park to give Newcastle their biggest league win in over a year last weekend.
The mercurial one is not in a hurry to leave the Tyneside club, as he had these good words to say in the French daily L’Equipe:
“The team is doing well and it is normal that the manager maintains that confidence in the team in place.” “Although when you’re a competitor, you want to be on the pitch.”
“I give everything always, even if I am asked to play 10, 15 minutes. A departure from Newcastle? The question does not arise today. I do not think about it. I’m at Newcastle and I feel good. We’ll see.”
“I do not think about the World Cup. I only think about my club and to be good for my team.” “They asked me if I was dreaming about the Ballon d’Or. I said yes, like any player. But this is not something that obsesses me.”
It’s the positive attitude of players at Newcastle like Ben Arfa that is helping Newcastle be so successful this season, and they have every right not to be that happy on the bench.
But Alan Pardew seems to have got them all to think about the team first, rather than themselves, and the top form of players like Ben Ara when they come on will only keep first team starters like Yoan Gouffran on their toes.
Indeed the skills of Ben Arfa could well be the difference in what could be a very close home game against Stoke City tomorrow.
What do you think?
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