There were some surprises when it was revealed that Ben Arfa was not part of the squad for the trip to Abu Dhabi for a January warm weather break for the Newcastle first team squad, and the lads traveled immediately after the great 3-1 win at Upton Park on Saturday night.
Ben Arfa – permission to miss mini-winter break
But the news today is that Hatem has been given permission to miss the trip, so he could visit with his family, and this is not the first time Ben Arfa has been allowed to do that.
Ben Arfa has returned to Tunisia at other times, but it’s not known if that’s where he is at the moment, but there’s nothing wrong with giving the lad a little bit of time off.
Indeed Ben Arfa could still play a big part in Newcastle’s run-in to the season, and we are now on 36 points from 22 games, and that’s exactly where we were two years ago after 22 games played and we managed 5th place that season.
And we are 15 points better off than we were at this time last season, after we had drawn 0-0 at Norwich City – and we then lost the next game at home to Reading 2-1. 🙁
Ben Arfa can still have a big impact at Newcastle, but it will probably be as a substitute, but if Ben Arfa can come on in some of our tough close games, and either score or make the winner, that would be a great contribution from the mercurial French International.
For the record, Ben Arfa has 22 appearances this season with 3 goals and 7 assists, and since joining Newcastle three and a half years ago from Marseilles, he’s made 77 appearances with 14 goals and 19 assists – and that’s not a bad record at all.
Note: There is a special MJK Sports event coming up like we’d like to publicize. On May 9th there will be an evening with Kevin Keegan at the Lancastrian suite in Gateshead. You can get the details about the event and buy your tickers here.
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