Hatem Ben Arfa is in the news at the moment because of the two great goals he scored for Nice against St. Etienne yesterday, a game in which Nice went on to win 4-1.
It was an excellent away win for them against second-placed St. Etienne and they are now in 8th position in tthe French league and they finished with only nine men in that game.
Ben Arfa in Nice colors – 6 goals in 8 games this season
Ben Arfa is having a resurgence of his career at Nice and he is top of the goal scoring charts in France with 6 goals in eight games and of course, there´s never been any doubt this lad has extraordinary ability – there has never been any question of that.
We always thought he had as much ability as Lionel Messi, but where he didn´t match the Argentine was in application, temperament, and plain hard work on and off the field.
Before he arrived at Newcastle in the summer of 2010, after falling out with then Marseilles manager Didier Deschamps, he had a history of falling out with his managers.
But after suffering a terrible double break of his left leg in October 2010 at Manchester City, he showed tremendous bravery and courage in returning from that blow.
While at Newcastle when he was playing his best in 2012 he scored two of the greatest individual goals ever seen at St. James Park against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton as we finished 5th in the Premier League that May.
He ran half the length of the field for each goal and they were something to see.
But after that season things begin to go wrong for Ben Arfa and in his last full season at Newcastle from 2013-2014 he lost favor with Alan Pardew.
It seemed like Ben Arfa wouldn´t follow the directions he had been given on the field and certainly he was poor at tracking back to help out the defense.
It all ended up with him being sent out on loan just over a year ago to Hull City, but manager Steve Bruce also tired of his lack of discipline and work-rate and cut short his loan and he then signed full-time for Nice in January.
But because of a screw up that said he had already played for two teams last season – the Newcastle U21 side being one of them along with Hull City he was not allowed to play for Nice last season.
To his credit, he has come roaring back this season and he looks fit.
But Ben Arfa should be playing for one of the top clubs in Europe and while it´s great he´s doing so well this season, this lad should now be one of the best players in Europe with all the ability he has.
Newcastle fans don´t have to be reminded of that innate ability.
But we will always think that with Ben Arfa because of his great ability it was an opportunity lost, a career unfulfilled.
If he had the temperament and work ethic of Lionel Messi he would be where Messi has been for the last seven years or so – one of the best if not the best player in world football.
That´s why we feel it´s a sad case with Ben Arfa.
But hey, like anything else in this life there is always opportunity and time for Ben Arfa to rise again – become more consistent and mature – and finally fulfill his tremendous potential.
We hope that happens and even if it doesn’t, some of the goals he has already scored including those two for Newcastle will show what great ability Ben Arfa always had.
That´s even if he wasn´t able to become a world-class player when he had been blessed world-class ability.
Here are his two great goals for Nice yesterday – they are really something.
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