Alan Pardew has praised Ben Arfa for his play and application in his last two substitute appearances for the side, but the manager hasn’t yet decided whether to start him tomorrow at Southampton.
Ben Arfa challenges Ross Barkley on Tuesday night
Most fans want Ben Arfa to start the game tomorrow, and we had thought he could start as a withdrawn striker behind Papiss Cisse, which would mean Luuk de Jong making way, but Pardew may want to persevere with Luuk for a few games yet.
This is what the Newcastle manager has told the Shields Gazette today:
“Hatem’s had an influence,” “I’ve been pleased with his application, and the quality he’s brought on to the pitch.”
“I’ll be thinking about him, but in terms of whether he’ll start or not, I haven’t made that decision.” “Southampton is a big game for us,” “They’re right below us, and we want to try to get a win.
“I want to make sure we deliver the best we can. We can only be the best we can be. What we showed against Everton the other night was a discipline to our game.”
“In two thirds of the pitch we were good, but in the last third, we must improve. We must improve that against Southampton – the quality in that area.”
The problem we have tomorrow is just how Newcastle will score goals, but it seems they have at least been trying to improve that in training.
We again had chances against Everton – three in the first two minutes in fact – but we couldn’t put that ball into the back of the net.
We will have Loic Remy back for the next game at home to Manchester United in eight days time, but it shows just how short of decent strikers we are at the club.
We probably need three new strikers brought in over the summer, and we should also give Ben Arfa a new contract, because this lad is too creative to let go – and he can still be a match winner for Newcastle.
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Note: Sean Borland is a student in Newcastle and will not be at either the Man United (5 April) or Swansea (19 April) games – and he has tickets – £30 for the ManU game and £20 for the Swansea game – you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or sean4eva09 on twitter.