Mature Star – I’m At Newcastle And I Feel Good

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.

hatem ben arfa scores penalty

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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35 comments so far

  • Blofal

    Dec 25, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Comment #1

    Good to see Cabaye made the Guardians top 100… although at position 91.

  • lesh

    Dec 25, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Comment #2

    So the bindippers made an approach for Benny?

    Parasitic scouse gits but thankfully Hatem showed loyalty to us and still does, despite not being played as often as he’d like.

    Let’s hope Pardew manages to keep him sweet and get even more out if him. Great lad is Mr Ben Arfa, great lad

    And, yup Blofal, let’s hope it’s not long before we’ve got others joining Cabaye in the Grauniad’s hot 100

  • remember69

    Dec 25, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Comment #3

    Merry Christmas from a Wallsend lad in the USA to all NUFC fans around the world, and to Ed for bringing us all together.
    Keep the faith – here’s to a win tomorrow.

  • nufcFTW

    Dec 26, 2013 at 12:28 AM

    Comment #4

    Play him for goodness sake

  • Ciaran

    Dec 26, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Comment #5

    Drastically overrated luxury player who we could really do without carrying. Although I’d get rid of Shola, Marv, Obertan, Raylor and Saylor before him.

  • toonincheek

    Dec 26, 2013 at 1:43 AM

    Comment #6

    Drastically over-rated?
    That is drastically over-stated.
    A bit of a luxury – at times – but so often a game winner.

    Just look at his late cameo against Palace and the chances he created in the few minutes he was on the pitch.

  • lesh

    Dec 26, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Comment #7

    @5. Sharon, stop being a pain in the arse and try to be positive for once.

    It seems that Christmas hasn’t been good for you but take hope, for however bad it ma have been, for others it would’ve been a damn site worse when they opened their preesy and found that Santa had brought them a Sunderland shirt!

  • swemag

    Dec 26, 2013 at 2:10 AM

    Comment #8

    Maybe we should start looking at Ben Arfa as an attacker rather than winger.
    Play him with Remy. He could be our Suarez. He creates so much in such a short time when he gets on I really cannot see him as a luxury. More like a game changer.
    Besides, I don’t see too many coaches that could have the kind of relationship with him that Pardew has.
    Pending the opposition he or Shola can be played in attack or alternatively we play a five man midfield.

  • Ciaran

    Dec 26, 2013 at 2:11 AM

    Comment #9


    Ssshh, Xmas has been wonderful, the time of year does not alter my perception of HBA.

    I did list a number of players who I would sooner see go though, but HBA does not cut the mustard as far as I am concerned. That is not being negative, just realistic.

    Would being positive mean making a statement I don’t believe in? No, that is called being disingenuous

  • Ciaran

    Dec 26, 2013 at 2:14 AM

    Comment #10

    As for being a game winner? I can count on one hand the number of games he has ‘won’ single-handedly for us.

    Everton 1-0 in 2010/11 season
    Bolton 2-0 in 2011/12 season
    Fabulous in 3-1 away win to WBA in 2011/12 season
    Villa 2-1 this season.

    Other than that he has flattered to deceive. Lovely flair player, but is an undisputed luxury player

  • tarie4

    Dec 26, 2013 at 2:19 AM

    Comment #11

    fulham?? last season and this?? liverpool 2-0 year we finished 6th.. hmmm aeems u have more than 5 fingers on one hand sharon

  • swemag

    Dec 26, 2013 at 2:44 AM

    Comment #12

    Unlike Cisse I have no doubt in my mind that at some stage during this season HBA will be given a regular spot and make a huge difference.
    Personally I hope it is in attack with Remy. When he comes on he will have something to prove and this will ensure his work rate.
    That is my belief anyway.

  • The next Mike Williamson

    Dec 26, 2013 at 3:17 AM

    Comment #13

    @ Ciaran – you whinge that HBA has only single-handedly won 4 games. Like that is an easy feat. Even Cabaye has not won one game by himself. Krul is the only other player that has done it.

  • lesh

    Dec 26, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    Comment #14

    Oh, and happy boxing day Ciaran……. Maybe Ben Arfa’ll score or make a good result for us against Stoke.

  • toonincheek

    Dec 26, 2013 at 4:51 AM

    Comment #15

    The Next M W –
    We should also take account of chances created for others, but not taken.
    Like the brief cameo against Palace.
    I would also add Cabaye to that category – some of his excellent through balls have led to great chances – wasted by others.

    Hatem was outstanding in his brief cameo against Palace, although even if some of the chances he created were not taken, they could not have been called game changing.

    And – his cameo against ManU – although he did not create any real chances (I think), his introduction led to a game-changing pattern of play, which was just what we needed at that time of the game.
    Don’t suppose Ciaran would acknowledge that, though.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 5:01 AM

    Comment #16

    Matchwinner, gamechanger, talented, skillful, exciting; all these could be quite easily describe HBA.

    Lazy, selfish, ineffective, wasteful, frustrating, inconsistent ;could all just as easily be used to describe him.

    It doesn’t really matter what your stance is, the fact remains that this good run of form coincided with HBA being taken out of the side. So why does everyone seem to be in such a big rush to bring him back in?

    He will get his chance in the near future – Sissoko one yellow away from suspension – and then it is up to him to make himself undroppable. If he does, great, if he doesn’t it is time for him to move on.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 5:06 AM

    Comment #17

    I say time to move on as he only has 18 months left on his contract, and if he can’t nail down a starting place then the wage valuation in the clubs eyes will be way apart from what Hatem will (through his agents) be expecting/wanting. I’d prefer to sell him in Jan/the summer than lose him to someone like Liverpool on a free in 18months…

  • Santon03

    Dec 26, 2013 at 5:21 AM

    Comment #18

    Merry Chistmas to all
    I think we will see Gomis and Gourcuff coming in January. Both players will be out of contract in summer and don’t want to renew it.
    I don’t think Gomis will score 20 goals, I’ll be happy with 10 goals. If we are going to keep Remy and Cisse, we will need a player like Gomis. Not just for scoring goals, Cisse without Ba is useless and Remy going down the same road. I noticed that Remy scored mostly when he has Shola playing. We do need someone strong up front to play with Cisse and Remy, it doesn’t have to be Gomis but with his price probably the only option we have.
    Gourcuff is a playmaker similar like Cabaye, we definitely need him. Cabaye can’t play all the games, we missed his quality when he didn’t play.
    Also Cabaye will be playing in World Cup, remember what happened after Euro (if he decided to stay next season).
    I don’t think we will do much in next summer window unless we are going to sell players like Marv, Ober, etc.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Comment #19

    Merry Christmas, hope you and yours had a good day.

    I think in Jan we will get a striker. I’d like a creative player, either wide or through the middle and a dominant strong centre half, but I think centre forward is the most pressing. If we only got a centre forward in then I wouldn’t be too bothered as long as we make moves in the summer for the others.

    On specific names, I don’t really want Gomis, seen him play a number of times, and never really impresses. I’ve seen very little of Toivonen but he doesn’t seem to get good reports on here, De Jong would interest me, would also possibly pave a way for his brother in the summer.

  • Santon03

    Dec 26, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    Comment #20


    Looking at the price tag , availability, and the type of CF, I would say Gomis is the only striker for us. I don’t really like Gomis too but he is the type of striker/forward that will boost the performance of Remy and Cisse. I don’t think DeJong is in that type of forward, Toivonen will be more expensive than gomis and probably will be the same quality. I’m not hoping for Gomis to be top goal scorer but he will help Remy and Cisse performance. If I can choose any player in the same category, I will go for Huntelaar. In reality, Gomis probably the only option we have because this time his agents will be more cooperative (I think) and we will get him cheap. If he isturned out to be a flop, then it will be a cheap flop.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 6:37 AM

    Comment #21

    I know where you are coming from with this, but I don’t see Gomis as the sort of player that will benefit Remy or Cisse. He is a decent size, but isn’t a strong player, and his second touch is often a tackle. He is an out and out striker, and would rather be on the last man then letting someone else play that role.

    When players are out of contract or coming to the end you normally see an increase in agents fees, signing on fees and wage demands, as they feel the buying club can afford it. Seen as these were supposedly the stumbling blocks in the summer then I don’t see why they wouldn’t be again. He supposedly wants 80k a week, some say Euros, others pounds, either way that is a sizeable sum. If he does flop, then we have another Luque/Xisco on our hands who we are unable to offload due o nobody matching his wages.

    De Jong is a different type of player, but much more of a link man. He won’t be prolific, but would work well as a foil for someone playing on the shoulder of the last man.

    Still, I think it foolish to buy someone with the reason being that they will play well with Remy, as I’d say it is probably 60/40 he won’t be here next season. We should be looking for players who can fit into the way Pardew wants to play instead.

  • Santon03

    Dec 26, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Comment #22


    Other than Huntelaar (who would impossible for us), the best option I would say AC.
    Even if Remy leaves then we still have Cisse, unles he also leaves.

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:09 AM

    Comment #23

    AC? Not for me, the bloke has barely been fit since leaving us, is still on huge wages, and would cost near £10million at least! No thanks.

    I think Cisse needs to leave, for his own good. Although it leaves us in a pretty worrying situation if Remy doesn’t sign, and Shola out of contract…

    I haven’t really spent time pondering any other options, Cardozo would have been a decent option last summer, but is getting on, and I don’t think he will be available in Jan. De Jong on loan and a younger striker in to add depth may be the best bet, keep powder dry for the summer. If we finish well the options available to us will increase.

  • asenski

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:10 AM

    Comment #24

    play HBA vs stoke behind remy
    any other formation would prove how stubborn pardew is playing the same formation at home with ameobi and remy and the same foramtion away with anita ahead and cabaye behind remy … i want to see some progressive methods by pardew if heshould be around managers like martinez, moyes,pochettino

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:19 AM

    Comment #25

    Moyes progressive???Oh aye, £30 million on his big target man from Everton to go to a Man U who played quick paced attacking football….

    Pocchettino who hasn’t won in 6 games, and has a team that have scored less goals than us this season.

    Martinez is the only one out of those 3 that can claim to have done better than expected out of those 3!

  • bills-son

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:28 AM

    Comment #26


    Pardew is stubborn if sticks with a formation that works?

    Strange logic.

  • asenski

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    Comment #27

    Georgie and bills

    hardly can i argue that results are not in pardew’s way but i can’t see him getting the best of us in terms of football.
    as to martinez and pochettino – we have better players than both teams but with each of these managers we would have been top 4 now
    i’m sure

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    Comment #28

    Stubborn, even though he has been changing it depending on the game over the last few weeks…. With the selected 11 not playing 2 consecutive matches for 4 games, which will definitely become 5 today due to Tiote.

    I’m not a fan of Pardew, but I can see he is learning and changing things from previous seasons. No point bashing him just for the sake of it.

  • Slank

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:37 AM

    Comment #29


    So if it ain’t broke fix it?

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:42 AM

    Comment #30

    I agree, Pardew doesn’t get the best out of what we have, but he is adapting and performing far better than he has done in terms of style then anytime before. The fact we are getting results at the same time is of huge credit to him.

    Better players than Southampton, probably, but we are 6 points ahead of them in the league, so Pardew is doing fine there.

    Better than Everton? Not so sure, I’d say it is pretty even. I’d swap Baines and Jagielka for Santon and Willo. Barkley and McCarthy are easily a match in midfield for Tiote and Anita. Mirrallas isn’t half bad, nor is Delofeu so it is pretty close out wide and I’d prefer Lukaku to any of our strikers.

    Would we be top 4 with a better manager? Maybe, maybe not. Are we better than City, Chelsea, Arsenal or Liverpool, the current incumbents of the top 4? No.

  • asenski

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Comment #31


    i just express my opinion as still thinking that pardew will never overjump himself as a manager and honestly do not expect better finish than 8 -9th place


    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    Comment #32

    Ciaron @5:

    It is,nt very often that i can say i totally disagree with what someone has written on here but in this case you are wrong about Hatem?

    You are, however, entitled to your opinion, and i respect you for that !
    This transfer window is going to be interesting, is it not?

    Lets just get the 3 points today and try and grab the win on Sunday against the Gooners?

  • jazzyp

    Dec 26, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Comment #33

    Sounds like you want to swap your colours pal lol.
    We all know how fickle fans are, pards is flavour of the month at the moment but have a month of poor results and everyone is calling for his head !!!
    Today is going to be a positive day……3-1 to the toon

  • jesperfuglsang - captain of the lemon crew

    Dec 26, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    Comment #34

    Morning lads!

    I do think Pardew is showing that he has learned something, but it is mostly visible when we start the game better than the opposition.

    When we go behind Pardew is still lost and he is still making reactive subs for most parts.

    His worse traid is chasing this winning formular which is holding him back from real progress (he is affraid to jinx it)

  • Lilongwe Geordie

    Dec 26, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Comment #35

    Not yet, I said once we knew he was staying that I would be happy with Pardew if I saw him changing his style of management, the way he plays, and learning from mistakes.. I’m not convinced yet, we still try and protect leads by sitting too deep in games, and we have performed very poorly more often this season than we have performed well.

    I have however seen signs of encouragement in the way we are playing the game, and in the way he has set up in certain games. If he continues that progress then that is fine, but it will be a while before he convinces me. Today is a good game for him to show improvement as if we can get a lead he has the opportunity to push on, rather than protecting and sitting deep which cost us all too often last season, and has this season as well.


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