How important is Hatem Ben Arfa?

The importance of Hatem Ben Arfa.
Like many, I awoke this morning and looked at the news, and I wasn’t overly impressed with what I saw.

Now my genius idea of a match thread last night seemed to work, so I set about reading the comments from top to bottom.

I can only imagine the picture on my face when I got to the comment that informed us of Hatem Ben Arfa being stretchered off after a nasty challenge from Roger Espinoza, a look that surely took a turn for the worse when I read that he’d been taken away in an ambulance as a result. Fortunately it wasn’t that severe and I managed to dodge having some form of minor coronary whilst the walls in my front room remained intact. Ben Arfa is of course injured enough to be out of the rest of the US tour, but the feelings at the moment are that everything is precautionary rather than serious.

It does raise a serious question though. Just how important is Hatem Ben Arfa?

I’m not one to read too much into pre-season games, especially not the earlier ones in a country that is currently much much hotter than it is here in good old blighty, but on the evidence of last night it would appear that Ben Arfa is going to have a pivotal role in our season, which is naturally going to hinge on him being fit for the bulk of the season.



Apparently the withdrawal of Ben Arfa meant that we lost some of our creative spark and in the end the performance fizzled out as a result. Now at this point it’s worth remembering that we do have Joey Barton and Yohan Cabaye – both of whom can ‘pick a pass’ and unlock a defence – to come back into the team so once they are involved perhaps we won’t feel the loss of Ben Arfa as much.

I’ve read a few comments suggesting that Ben Arfa is injury prone. Seriously? Give your heads a shake man. I’d hardly call getting his leg shattered in two places by a reckless Nigel de Jong challenge and then twisting an ankle after a challenge by Espinoza (which the match referee retrospectively branded as reckless I’ll add) injury prone, would you? Does that mean that somebody who gets hit by a car is injury prone? No, it’s just an accident (most of the time), and accidents happen.

It is a worry though. There is a sense that there is too much riding on Hatem Ben Arfa – and that goes for management, and fans. It was interesting to see Hatem starting behind two strikers last night, which makes me hopeful that the club are indeed doing as they say and are looking for another striker to partner Demba Ba. If said new striker is better than what we have beyond the Senegal international then perhaps the burden on Ben Arfa will be reduced.

Overall I’m not overly fussed about Ben Arfa being our talisman. Most teams have one if we’re being honest; Man Utd – Rooney, Chelsea – Erm Drogba? Lampard?, Man City – It was Tevez, Arsenal – Fabregas and so on. The difference is that those teams don’t have to just rely on those players.

Hopefully, with everyone fit, we will be just the same, but on a smaller scale. Injuries happen and injuries hurt, not just the player, but team performances. Look at Chelsea last season as the prime example. All that money, all those internationals, yet it was injuries that sent them on a long run of poor form which ultimately gave Manchester United a hand in winning the title.

Anyway, I’m rambling. How important is Hatem Ben Arfa? Very, although with a full team there will hopefully be some shared responsibility in terms of creating chances. Bear in mind that Yohan Cabaye is also well versed at playing the advanced midfield role so he will be able to cover in any event of injury, but I just worry that we, collectively, are putting too much pressure on just one man?

What do you reckon?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

37 thoughts on “How important is Hatem Ben Arfa?

  1. Considering he’s hardly played a competitive game for us (not his fault) I think any time we see him perform well on the pitch must be considered a bonus.

    As cliche as it sounds, he literally will be like a new signing for us.

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  2. How important is Hatem Ben Arfa?
    ——————————–
    we have signed some good players so far this window with plenty of time left for 1-2 more. So even without Ben Arfa I would would hope to see a top 10 finish. What he brings to the table, IMO, is the possibility for an even higher finish. The fact that he hasn’t played competitively in so long, then comes out and plays what sounds like 2 fantastic matches, shows there is a potential greatness there- not to mention a level of excitement that we haven’t seen in awhile.

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  3. I have watched football for a lot of years at St James Park and I think this kid could end up been one of the best. IMO he is a natural, has flair and ability in abundance and a rasping shot on him. My only concern is the bastards who will de Jong style try to stop him. If was a Man U player he would have ferguson to protect him, instructing the referees what they should do to protect him.

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  4. ben arfa was once said to be the hottest prospect in europe its only natural that pressure will be on him to perform and players of his calibre should thrive on it.
    I for one cant wait to see him tie shambles and turdinand in knots at the stadium of shite.
    We should sign 1 more striker (while getting rid of lovenkrands and ranger), a winger and 2 defenders and hopefully that would help lighten the load of ben arfa

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  5. Honestly in my opinion he’s one of the best, if not the best player we’ve had in the past 12 years. in terms of potential, he was courted by man utd and arsenal heavily just before his move to marseille, considered the best talent in europe not long ago, im convinced we will see special things from him.

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  6. Way too early to tell if Hatem is the real deal. One great game and one wonder goal do not make him the next Peter Beardsley.

    I hope and pray he is the player we have been missing for several years but I need to see more performances like the Everton game on a consistent basis before im convinced.

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  7. I agree with Freddie Shepherd’s comment that HBA might be targeted, as his reputation as a class act will always precede him. His ability to make defenders look ridiculous will inevitably have the odd one come looking for him later in the game. He will need some protection from the ref’s but as he grows into the English game I’m sure he will be able to look after himself.

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  8. “If you are looking to watch the game from over the pond, we are here for you. Sporting Kansas City currently has no plans to live stream their game against Newcastle on Wednesday, so OrlandoCitySoccer.com is your first chance to watch the Magpies play in America”

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  9. I think Ben Arfa is the difference between us being top 10 and not. I just worry though that his style of play makes him a bit of a target to the sort of enforcer type players that hack him down. Hopefully this is just a minor ankle injury and he’s back for maybe Fiorentina and Arsenal because I think it’s teams like that that allow for more flair and less nasty tackles. It seems doubtful that he will be able to last a long time without some sort of tackle and injury though. Hopefully either Abeid or Vuckic will be good enough to fill in when he is out and it could be a huge chance for them.

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  10. DJG
    July 21, 2011 at 14:49

    “Fiorentina and Arsenal because I think it’s teams like that that allow for more flair and less nasty tackles”

    😯 😯 😯

    Arsenal maybe, but those Italians are some of the dirtiest and most cynical of the lot.

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  11. For heavens sake he was the best signing our shower has managed for a decade and we got 4 games out of him before his career was ruined. not enough noise has been made of de jong being a disgrace. I feel for Hatem because I remember Marseille’s president trying to stop him joining us syaing “I don’t want to ne responsible for ruining his career” thats exactly whats happened. πŸ˜₯

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  12. @14 how is his career over? He got a knock i doubt he’ll be out more than 6 weeks. It was a bad challenge and that injury wasn’t because of a weakness in his leg it was simply because it was a reckless challenge that caught him in a bad place. Woulda happened to anyone else

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  13. I’ve been to Orlando and it’s friggin great. Totally different experience if you’ve only been in Europe. Would love to go back in the future when I can afford it. The weather changes so fast that it can be fine one minute, then a storm can be ripping the branches off tree’s for 10 minutes and your kept in a building, then a few minutes later it was calm again. 😯 πŸ˜€

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  14. Alex – A bit dramatic to say his career is ruined don’t you think? Was Shearer’s career ruined back in 97 when had an injury that kept him out for a year? Nope. Not saying Ben Arfa is Shearer, but these injuries that Ben Arfa has had can, do, and will continue to happen to any player. Its not like they are persistent recurring problems is it? Grip needed Imo.

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  15. Andy – Fingers crossed it even be six weeks. Hopefully a week or so and we’ll see him at Leeds πŸ™‚

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  16. Ben Arfa’s just got a twisted ankle – it’s not a repeat of his dodgy leg, so it’s not gunna end his career.

    Take a breath. Keep calm and carry on

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  17. Assuming we play 4-2-3-1 then I’m again assuming that the three would be
    Jonas – HBA – Barton which would leave only Marveaux, Vuckic, Ferguson, Raylor & Routledge as the options. That’s to me the worry. With Routledge going would we be happy with those as starting options. I hope that we are still planning to bring in another quality player such as Zog or Barnetta. And don’t even start on what if Barton goes.

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  18. Three weeks. Not so bad. Fit for the season then. No bad for someone as injury ravaged and washed up as Ben Arfa is πŸ˜‰

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  19. @24 agreed on Barnetta. talk on him died down when the Zog rumours started. I thought a I read somewhere (might just been twitter though) recently that said he is now a possibility again.

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  20. @premandup

    Is that you fantasising again?

    Do you really believe Zog is interested in our poor wages?

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  21. had lap-top in P.C.world for 3 days,great news to switch on and read about benny πŸ˜₯ i look on the good side if jobey is right back in 3 weeks helps a bit,better than torn hamstring which can happen after long term lay off then we could be looking at 2/3 mths trying to look on bright side πŸ˜€

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  22. He’s vital, to the “new look” Newcastle anyway, you’d assume. We can play without him obviously, and 442 with Barton and Cabaye in the middle and Ba and Best/Shola up front would still allow us to pass and move..but with any more injuries we’d be buggered.

    Also, Ben Arfa isn’t injury prone, but he will undoubtedly be a target. I’m sure everyone knows how it feels to be “done” during a match, and in my case I’d sometimes lose my head a little and go in stronger than I usually would, usually because some c*nt was showing off and the like. Anyway, Hatem does that to entire teams, he did it plenty at Everton, and the frustration of their players when they couldn’t get the ball off him or got shown up started to tell with all the fouls in him.

    Just hope he’s quick enough to get away from the dodgy tackles, cause there will be plenty more this season.. πŸ˜•

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  23. Lack of quality in depth, that is the killer. What happens with an injury to Colo? We’re left with STaylor and Willo with Kadar as backup. We have 2 quality wingers, Jonas and Marveaux. With an injury to either of those 2 and Ferguson already injured that leaves Raylor on one side or putting Barton back there. When Jose is sold (he is not playing due to a minor injury if you believe that) we have no depth at left back. We couldn’t even sign NTaylor and who says he is good enough yet? If Ba is injured we are back to Ameobi and Best. According to Pardew we either have a big squad or a small squad depending on which day you ask him. Talk about the looneys running the looney bin!

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  24. Hatem Ben Arfa, sheer class! The sooner he’s back the better. Hope it’s for Arsenhole. “TOON TOON!!”

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  25. ben arfa has class but so did david ginola but in those days we didnt have to rely on him to be the shining light, messrs beardsley ferdinand lee shearer asprilla were some back up, unfortunatley we dont have this strength in depth now , but we have to realise why we dont have such back up, Β£35 million not being touched might give you a clue!

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