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Ben Arfa Could Get Start At Bolton

Most of the games for Newcastle have been tough ones these last few weeks.

Ben Arfa — could get start at Bolton this afternoon

And Bolton away this afternoon will be no different, and the good news is that Newcastle should be close to their strongest side with Mike Williamson likely to finally return to the fray, to partner Coloccini  in central defense.

Mike was  injured way back in August at Scunthorpe, and his ankle has not healed quickly at all, and he was only declared physically fit a couple of weeks ago.

Mike is 6’4″ tall and whereas you don’t need to be tall to be a good header of the ball, the extra height always helps.

And Stoke-on-Trent born Mike has proved himself to be a solid performer for  Newcastle,  since arriving almost two years ago from Portsmouth.

He has been in full training for two weeks now, and has been on the bench for the last two games, so he will have become more accustomed  to the match day climate, although he cannot be match fit, by any means.

Yohan Cabaye also returns after serving his one match ban,  so Alan Pardew can field a strong side this afternoon.

Bolton beat Blackburn 2-1 at Ewood Park last time out, to get themselves off the bottom of the league, and will be full of confidence and trying to improve their home league record this afternoon.

That record is not very good, in fact it’s abysmal at 7 defeats and only one win in their 8  home games.

Danny Simpson has talked about the game at Bolton this afternoon:

“Bolton away – we’ve been there before and it was tough,”  “They’ll take confidence from coming off bottom by beating Blackburn, their local rivals, so we know it’s going to be tough going there.”

“But we’ll have Yohan back, who was a big loss on Wednesday night in my personal opinion, even though Haris (Vuckic) did great.”

“We’ll have probably more of a full-strength team, so we’ll move on from West Brom and look to win.”

We’re not sure what the team will be,  but Pardew could elect to start Ben Arfa as the withdrawn striker to up front number 19 Demba Ba.

The Frenchman looked good when he came on last Wednesday night against West Brom, and beautifully  set up Ba’s second goal and the Newcastle equalizer after 81 minutes.

But of course West Brom went on to score their third goal four minutes later, and Newcastle lost their second home game of the  season.

It was great to see the reception Ben Arfa got from the Newcastle fans,  as they are wishing and hoping him back to his best form,  after the terrible injury he sustained at Manchester City last year.

Ben Arfa could do wonders against the Bolton defense today, and may be preferred to Leon Best,  who has looked a little off form recently and certainly out of the goals.

This may well be a game made to measure for the 8 times capped French International midfielder, and we certainly need some Newcastle players to stand up and be counted today, as we try to end the winless streak,  which stretches to 6 games now.

Howay The Lads!!

Comments welcome.

55 comments so far

  • GeordieGerman

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Comment #1

    Can’t see HBA starting. Not when Best is in need of shooting practice (as we’ll not be getting a striker in January). Would like to be wrong on both accounts though.

  • toonthompson

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    Comment #2

    Hope so we play better with him behind ba

  • Dannyo

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Comment #3

    Lol, is it me or do we have this topic before each match?

  • bills-son

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Comment #4

    Ben Arfa looked good last Wednesday ?

    Not in my opimion. Yes he set up Ba’s goal but he was hardly in the game and doesn’t work anywhere near hard enough to justify playing in the hole.

    I want HBA to play and play to his potential but he HAS to start looking for the ball instead of waiting for it. If he doesn’t he is a luxury passenger we can’t afford – especially in away games.

  • Graeme

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    Comment #5

    GG Pardeau is going to shock us out of our Christmas induced stupor by playing Ba, Best, HBA and Vuckik in the same team and just blitz Bolton from start to finish!! They wont know where the hell the next danger ball/ shot / cross is going to come from lol

    We should be so lucky lol

  • Klatoon

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    Comment #6

    Dannyo,yeah we do and its always a split decision.wonder when he’ll finally claim an automatic starting place?

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Comment #7

    Ben Arfa may be a luxury, but I’d say every team needs someone who can do something out of the ordinary. So far he set up Shola for his goal against spurs, got a pen at man united and set Ba up again on Wednesday. How many others have made assists or scored apart from BA and played such little time after a major injury? People like best, Raylor and Perch are all journeymen who will never take us anywhere. people like Ben Arfa, Cabaye etc just might.

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Comment #8

    we all know cabaye will make a difference when he gets back in the team, but it will be a shame to drop vuckic, i think we need to look at the wingers, vuckic did much better than both obertan and jonas put together in the last game, ,,

    i know HBA dont want to play on the wing, but if its a choice between the bench and wing, im sure he would chose the wing,

    we have to start creating chances again, as this is what is letting the team down, well along with poor defending, williamson will add mch needed hight to the defence ,

    i only wish AP would stop picking players who are his favs 🙁

  • bills-son

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    Comment #9

    Rotunda – the games you mention – we didn’t win one.

    HBA is one of those players where most fans only see the good and ignore the bad. I bet AP is desperate for him to play to his potential but knows that his lack of work rate makes him a liability. He loses the ball far too often in the centre of the park and can immediately put us under pressure. Having great skill is not enough it has to be matched by work rate.

    Silva, Mata, Modric – these are the type of ‘hole’ players HBA has to be judged against. He is a million miles away on current form.

  • Klatoon

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Comment #10

    Play Vuckic just behind Ba,its his natural position and he’s much fitter than HBA with twice the workrate. Introduce HBA for either Obertan or one of the CM’s with Vuckic dropping back if we are chasing the game with an hour played.

  • Indian Magpie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #11

    why cant we play 4231

    Tiote Cabaye
    hBa Vuckic Jonas/obertan

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Comment #12

    bills son
    flip your argument about HBA and then try and try and justify obertan or jonas for that matter ,

    hba has faults, but he has much more to his game than obertan, who just has to wake up to get his game

  • Rotonda heights

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #13


    Sounds good to me.
    We just have to do something different to stop this awful run and this will be our 4th match in a row against weaker teams and we have only taken one point.
    I am painfully aware there is no alternative to Pardew under this regime, but I just hope he can be a bit more pro-active and reactive and get the 3 points.

    Someone like Vuksic should be rewarded for Weds not dropped for Cabaye, but kept in for Obi or Guti.

  • catchy in norway

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    Comment #14

    if we continue to play with these 2 wingers, we are carrying 2 players from the very start

  • Indian Magpie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    Comment #15

    Billson, i do not know about the other arguments,

    But HBA is our Best player by a country mile

  • bills-son

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:13 AM

    Comment #16

    Indian Magpie – HBA is DEFINITELY NOT our best player by a country mile. He might be the most skilful BUT that is totally different to being a player.

    Ba, Collo, Tiote and Cabaye for starters are a far, far better players simply because they have far more influence on the team and results.

    HBA gets far more credit than he has deserved so far.

  • BigKirky

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    Comment #17

    I like the idea of 4-3-3 with ba, vuckic and arfa as the roaming front three and tiote, yohan and Cabaye as the middle three.

  • Indian Magpie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #18

    Big Kirky,

    i know it was probably an error but who do you say as the middle three

  • Gateshead_Geordie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Comment #19

    LOL @17

    Wish we could have two of him 🙂

  • Marty-Toon

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Comment #20

    Big kirky,that’s a nice line up but doubt we will play with 3 up front away from home.
    The big thing in our team is the final ball.
    All season even when we were winning hasn’t been good enough.
    Jonas and Obertan as all know already have to step up and get the ball in the box or get us more free kicks or corners.
    There has to be more end result to their game.
    Expect Ben Arfa to start today and create lots of good things,he will have to work harder to help win the ball for the team.
    Howay the lads

  • BigKirky

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #21

    Yohan and Jonas 😉

  • Selbymag

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Comment #22

    Morning and belated happy xmas etc, missed out on tickets for this aft as i was away when they went on sale….not Happy
    Any decent links just had a look on first row but not much to be had!
    My dad and brother are in the Bolton end but I didnt take that option as I take my 9yr old son with me and dont want him to see me getting into a squabble with some trotters

  • dmac

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #23

    Selby mate check first row again 😉 at 3pm there is deffo a link, you will find it gathers more links closer to the game.

  • Indian Magpie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #24


    Big Kirky, not that i am shooting you down but i dont think Jonas can play in a middle three, guthrie or my choice gosling should be in there.

    This is just my opinion

  • Gateshead_Geordie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Comment #25

    Selbymag, watched the WBA match through this site, no links yet but there will be nearer to Kick-Off


  • Selbymag

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    Comment #26

    cheers Dmac and Gateshead not quite the same but a few jars and the laptop will have to do this afternoon…
    Be a big surprise if HBA starts today for me but you never know.
    My main concern is Kevin Davies getting a game our lightweight defence will struggle with that big fat knacker we always do.

  • ilovetoon8788

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:37 AM

    Comment #27

    with jonas cabaye and tiote back in the side to protect our back 4. let’s start HBA and see what’s the hype about him all about.. i agree with bills-son, he’s far from being our best player. and he drifts in and out of game far too often. but i’m giving a benefit of doubt as i feel he needs to start more games to be 100% match sharp.

  • Brutooon

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Comment #28

    HBA and Best we get lots of games when ACON starts. Hopefully both will score several goals.

    2-0 to the Toon

  • BigKirky

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    Comment #29

    I know, I dont expect that line up at all, but I’d like to see it 🙂

    I always think that the more players who you have in ur team who find it difficult to score, the team will therefore find it difficult to score.

    Iv said before, that id like to see Cabaye get half a dozen shots in every game and we know Haris grabs goals for the reserves and against West Brom certainly showed us that he’s confident in his own shooting ability. After going to that open training session I’m disappointed that Obertan doesn’t shoot a lot more as he was powering a few great shots in then.

    Hope we do get that other top striker in although im concerned where that leaves Ben Arfa. He really is that good in my opinion that I’d be doing everything I could to have him playing every week and get a system to suit him.

    Those who remember Ginola, although playing wing, had a lot less defensive work than Hatem but could produce sublime magic most times he had the ball. I’m all for flair as long as the team is balanced and in Cabaye and Tiote I think we are, so I’d have him in every time. I’ve said before, that you have to accept possession will be occassionally lost when Benny takes people on, but it’s the rewards when he gets round his man which will reap rewards.

  • boater

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #30

    On your argument with Solano. As usual you are unable to engage in critical analysis. You fixate on an idea – so at the moment it’s Pardew’s tactical flaws, or refusal to play Kadar over Perch or whatever, and convince yourself that’s the root cause of all of our ails.

    For a year everyone on here had Ben Arfa as some wunderkind who would score thunderbolts every game – and ‘tear defenses apart’ because they’d seen it happen once. Letting go of prejudices and replacing that with hard truth aint easy – but it is the righteous path nevertheless bro.

  • toonarmydownsouth

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    Comment #31

    Think id rather see vuckic start than benny hba goes missing to often in games and is to greedy holds the ball to long and turns iver possesion

  • BigKirky

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #32

    Yes Indian, I know what u mean. Although I’ve thought Goslings passing on the whole has been very poor. I out Jonas there cos he works hard, can play slightly narrower and of course out wide. A Marvin Martin in there with Cabaye and Tiote should be lovely though 🙂

    Pards likes his 442 though :-/

  • Rowan Milsted

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Comment #33

    Last time we played 4-3-3 we were ripped open far too easily. I’d favour a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-1-2-1-2, or just stick with the 4-4-2 . It’s difficult to get Cabaye, Tiote and HBA starting in the same team (though you could with the 4-2-3-1 and still play two wingers). I love watching HBA and want to see him get back to form but I agree that he can’t keep getting starts because of that wonder goal against Everton. He’s probably our most creative player but he also loses the ball too much and doesn’t have the defensive workrate that other players have. Tiote and Cabaye have to start games I think, and of course Vuckic looks so promising that we want to see more of him too. We can’t field 4 central midfielders so HBA will either have to make do with playing out wide from time to time, or starting on the bench.

  • AussieToon

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #34

    We should be beating teams like Bolton. We have to attack and put pressure on from the start. Having the attacking threats like we do, we should play them all.






  • magpie6699

    Dec 26, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Comment #35

    I would play our usual 4 (with Willo in) – 4 – 2 but would put Vuckic in the “2” although he’d be just behind Ba. I would keep Benny and Shola in reserve for last quarter of the game. Best isn’t hitting the heights yet for me but he’d still be on the bench.

  • Partizan

    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM

    Comment #36

    I just read that Savic could be available on a season loan,that’s a player i would love to see in our line up.

  • Gateshead_Geordie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    Comment #37

    A win today and we are looking good for the rest of the season. 30 Points by New Year who wouldn’t have taken that back in August.

  • Super Simmo Strikes Again

    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Comment #38

    What time is the game?

  • BigKirky

    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #39

    On Ben Arfa, I dont think everyone expects thunderbolts every week. It’s his weight of passing, exceptional skill and ability to beat a man which is needed in the team. Not only has he been out for so long with injury, but he’s still not played too many premier league games overall.

    He needs regular playing time my opinion.

  • Gateshead_Geordie

    Dec 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    Comment #40

    3pm mate (UK time)


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