As expected, Alan Pardew in his press conference yesterday was asked about what was the current situation with Ben Arfa, and he admitted he was training with another squad of players, and not with the first team squad.
Ben Arfa – gulf widening with the manager
Ben Arfa held his own press meeting on Wednesday, and said that he was fit and wanted to play to help the team, but that for some reason Alan Pardew wasn’t playing him, and it’s almost a cast iron certainty he will not even be on the bench tomorrow, and he wasn’t in the traveling party that visited the Emirates last Monday night.
And in his press conference yesterday and in some comments made to the Shields Gazette today, Alan has said Ben Arfa’s outburst will be handled in the normal manner the club uses for all disciplinary matters:
“I’ve not said he will or won’t play again this season.” “But what I have said is that I’ll pick the team on merit for this club.” “It’s the same as Arsenal. He was fit for Arsenal.”
“I picked a team on merit for Arsenal, and I’ll pick a team on merit this week.” “As a Premier League manager, you get these sort of issues,” “The only thing I’d say to our supporters is that the team comes first.”
“This is not about me, Hatem or any individual player.” “What is important is the team and the performance.” “The team has worked very, very well. It’ll be a strong side that I put out. I expect us to win.”
“But there is a disciplinary process for that, and we’ll follow the same process for Hatem as everybody else on that.”
Alan Oliver in last Sunday’s People said that Ben Arfa had already played his last game for the club – ever – and that’s now looking like it could be accurate, given the animosity that seems to exist between the manager and the player.
That’s not good for Ben Arfa and it’s not good for Alan Pardew, and suffice to say that Ben Arfa is a very popular figure at Newcastle, who forced a move from Marseilles four years ago, because he wanted to play for the Tyneside club.
And with the terrible results we have had this year , Alan Pardew is not a popular figure right now.