This is seen as great news for some of our fans and I believe it is… but is he that good?
Some say he is going to work the wonders in our team by converting our now seemingly impotent attacking play into something that can scare and truly threaten opposition defences. Just ONE player?
Despite our supposed quality and strength being in the midfield area, our players have shown very little creativity and fluidity in the midfield area so far this season. Fans and the manager have both mentioned the importance of Ben Arfa’s return to the team because of his special ability to create a goal or chance out of nothing – but are we putting to much expectation and pressure on a player who has been out of the game for over a year?
While Ben Arfa on his day is certainly a special talent, he is by no means proven in terms of consistency or goalscoring prowess.
Now 24-years-old, Ben Arfa has been on the scene since 2004, where his record at his previous club’s goes as follows:
Now, while there is no doubt the our number 10 has the potential to become a Newcastle United great, for me personally, he still has a lot to prove and should be given the time prove it.
One goal every 8 games in his career so far also indicates that perhaps we shouldn’t be relying on him to be the man who is going to bring the goals we have been lacking so far this season.
I just feel that for a young man who has suffered two serious injuries in the past season and for someone who is barely blooded in the Premier League (despite the amount of time he has been here) fans need to be realistic.
The same hype was built up around Yohan Cabaye because of his pre-season performances and now some fans, incredibly, are criticising him because he hasn’t lit the Premier League alight in his first four games.
Ben Arfa himself has had one quality performance against Everton which saw him score a scorcher from outside the area but that doesn’t mean he is going to replicate that performance week in week out.
Sometimes as Toon supporters, I truly believe we are the masters of our own disappointments because we set our expectations of players and the team too high.
We had the same hype when signing Fabricio Coloccini, Joey Barton and Jose Enrique as they all came with big reputations. But they all delivered so little in their first season. It took a full season in the Championship, adjusting to the British style, for Coloccini and Enrique to shine and a season for Joey to get over his off the field issues and injury before he showed his ability.
If Cheik Tiote had been signed this season and put in the performances he has he would be getting torrents of abuse and he would be written off as a complete flop with fans criticising the board for buying cheap.
Yet we know what he is capable of, so we show patience.
As we have seen, there was an outcry and huge disappointment when these players moved on, yet had they been sold off after their first disappointing season, some fans would have
I think one of our biggest strengths after coming up from relegation was that it injected a bit of realism into our supporters who, for once, never had any expectations beyond the hope of survival and as a result – we over achieved.
Let’s continue to keep that realism. Let’s not expect too much from the likes of Cabaye and Ben Arfa until they’ve had that half a season of playing to settle down, learn the British game and gain some confidence. They certainly have the ability.
Half a season might seem a long time but its less time that some other former fan favourites like Nolan, Barton, Carroll and Enrique got.
I highlight Ben Arfa because he is not the one building himself up as our hero and superstar, that is the fans, so don’t get on his back if he doesn’t live up to your inflated expectations for some time to come.