It looks as though the American dream is over for Hatem Ben Arfa as he has been sent home from the US with an ankle injury.
Ben Arfa was on the end of a rough challenge in the 31st minute of last nights game against Kansas which resulted in the Frenchman being taken off on a stretcher.
Initial fears were allayed when news emerged that the injury wasn’t too serious, but Ben Arfa has since been for precautionary x-rays at a local hospital. Whatever was found was troublesome enough for his tour to be cut short and he will now return to Tyneside to be assessed by the medical team at NUFC over the next 48 hours.
To be honest it’s probably not the news that you want to wake up to. I know I was pretty annoyed by it when I first saw what had happened, but injuries are part of the game I guess so I’m just hopeful that they are being careful with Ben Arfa instead of something actually being wrong. Early reports suggested that it was a twisted ankle, which could be the case and would be a good enough reason to send him home from the tour, but it also wouldn’t rule him out of action for a prolonged period.
Ben Arfa had our best chance of the night when he rounded the goalkeeper only to hit the post in the 8th minute. It was described as a moment of brilliance as the French international exchanged passes with Peter Lovenkrands and beat two men before being denied by the angle of the shot.
Another Frenchman, Sylvain Marveaux, also went close just 8 minutes later. Marveaux effortlessly dribbled past a couple of sky blue shirts and nearly skimmed the post with his shot across goal from an acute angle. Two promising bits of play that should excite us for the new season in my opinion.
Jose Enrique was “rested” with Jonas Gutierrez preferred at left-back. By all accounts the Argie had a decent game bombing up and down the left and linked up well with Marveaux. The problem is that I can now see that being our combination for the left side in the (extremely likely in my opinion) event of Jose Enrique heading for pastures new.
Dan Gosling and Cheik Tiote were paired in the middle of the park and came through the match unscathed, although Gosling did spend nigh on 10 minutes off the pitch after suffering a head injury in only the second minute of the match. Demba Ba was another debutant who did ok and came through the match without injury. In fact rather than rattle on I’ll just show you all which team played.
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Ryan Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Dan Gosling. Jonas Gutierrez, Cheik Tiote, Hatem Ben Arfa, Sylvain Marveaux, Peter Lovenkrands, Demba Ba.
Subs: Fraser Forster, Stephen Harper, Alan Smith, Shola Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid, Leon Best, Danny Simpson, James Tavernier.
The final score was 0-0 and all in all it was a good run out, if a little bit too competitive for my liking. It’s a pre-season friendly but some of the challenges were anything but friendly. The game was played at a cracking pace in the first half before fizzling out in the second, which left me wondering if the two managers had a quiet word with each other at half-time?
Of course the big news is going to be the injury to Hatem Ben Arfa. At the moment the sounds are positive and point to everything being a precaution. Hopefully it stays that way aswell. We’ve been without Ben Arfa for so long now and it would be cruel to lose him again for any length of time.
Fingers crossed it’s nothing serious!