Ben Arfa must wait for Premier League chance

Hatem Ben Arfa.

Hatem Ben Arfa.
The sight fans want to see.
Most of the news over these last few days has been about Hatem Ben Arfa after the Frenchman returned from a year out of the game against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday night.

It’s understandable really. Not since the heady days of Kevin Keegan, the first time around I’ll add, have we had a player on our books who is capable of moments of sublime skill and game changing moments. In fact one of the players from the Keegan era has even said so much himself. I’m talking about former entertainer and fellow compatriot of Ben Arfa, David Ginola, who was quick to heap praise on the diminutive Frenchman yesterday.

There is a wave of optimism surrounding the return of Hatem at the moment, but I feel that a reality check is needed. Ben Arfa may have shown flashes of brilliance against Nottingham Forest in midweek, but being ready and being able to do it in the Premier League is a completely different proposition to an hour in the League Cup. Remember, a year out of the game is a long time.

Well Alan Pardew has delivered that reality check today and insists that there is still a lot of work for Hatem to do on the training ground before he can even consider him as a regular starter.

“It is a matter of when he is ready,” Pardew told The Journal. “He shows flashes of brilliance in training but I want him to do it more often in training before I bring him in.”

He continued: “It was just nice for us firstly to see him playing in a Newcastle jersey in a competitive game, and secondly to see the level he played at because I don’t think we expected him to be as sharp as he was. I would say he is one step ahead of where we thought he would be.”

Not fit enough for a start seemingly however. I happen to agree, and I’m sure those of you who made the trip to the City Ground on Tuesday will also relate to Alan Pardew’s words. Ben Arfa may have grabbed an hour of playing time, but he did visibly tire towards the end of his reappearance and in the end was waiting, hands on hips in the middle of the pitch, to be taken off by Pardew.

It’s going to take time for the fitness to get to the optimum level. Not only has he been out for a year, but he has also missed the bulk of pre-season thanks to the ankle ligament injury he sustained in America. He effectively has to go through it all again, which will involve a mixture of hard work on the training ground and brief appearances pn the pitch according to Pardew.

“Realistically he knows he has got more to do on the training ground,” said Pardew. “He smiles at me as if to say, ‘Okay, I will play next week’. There are times in the coming weeks if he has not made a start he will be kicking my door down. There has got to be a chance of him being involved off the bench against Blackburn.”

“My view is he can’t play out wide,” Pardew said, and after seeing the way he played against Forest first hand I’d be inclined to agree. “He has not got the relish for it and his best football comes through the middle.”

“It’s a great situation for us that we have been playing well without him in the team, so you would like to think he could perhaps take us up a notch or two. That we will have to find out when he is ready.”

So it seems as though patience is going to be the key. Not just for Ben Arfa, but also for some fans who are keen to see Ben Arfa back in the team sooner rather than later.

I wouldn’t read too much onto these words. To me these are psychological words from Pardew, an exercise of trying to get the best out of the player, and given what we’ve seen from Leon Best and Steven Taylor as a result of Pardew’s man management I’d have to say that he’s not done bad at it.

We’ll see if it works this time around.

61 thoughts on “Ben Arfa must wait for Premier League chance

  1. I will be gutted if I don’t see him for at least half hour at SJP tomorrow.

    Feeling confident about playing Blackburn. First time I haven’t been overly worried in ages about the result.


  2. I want to be confident about getting a result against Blackburn but can’t atm despite promising signs that we are becoming a real hard nut to crack. I think I’m just so used Newcastle failing in matches like these. I think this a real chance for the new look Newcastle to show us that they’re different to teams in the past that would keel over in these sort of games


  3. Moreno – This is the typical ‘after the lord mayors show’ game that turns out to be a banana skin.

    When we expect to win it doesn’t necassarily turn out that way.


  4. Great name mate.

    It’s just getting to the stage where we are classing every game as a potential banana skin. Deep down I feel exactly as you just described but I am going to fool myself into being confident.


  5. Blackburn have won the last five games at Newcastle.

    Agree with Stu. This is the type of game we usually fall over in, but then again so was the Fulham game. I hate Steve Keen for no reason so I hope we smash them 🙂

    Can’t seen anymore than 30 mins for Ben Arfa. I thought that we’d not see too many changes from the side that drew at Villa and it was fairly evident when you look at the players who were left out against Forest.


  6. Know where you are both coming from like. At the end of the day, we were outstanding against Villa but the game before we were woeful (short memory syndrome)

    Never really read too much into the stats like that though as it’s a different team and different manager. There isn’t some supernatural force that makes them better than us up here…..or is there (dooo dooo dooo dooo dooo dooo) ((that’s the x-files tune by the way))


  7. so what if B’burn have won the last 5 times at SJP?
    We had also lost the previous 4 times at Villa.
    These stats are meaningless imho, with completely different players.

    Agree tho we shouldn’t play HBA until he is ready. Plus he must be seen to be putting in the graft on the training ground. He cant just expect to walk into the team on his reputation alone. Can he ❓


  8. Beardsleys Boots
    September 23, 2011 at 10:48

    “He cant just expect to walk into the team on his reputation alone. Can he”

    That is the message I got from this. I agree with it in truth. What message would it send out to the players who improved so much at Villa if he was to just walk straight back in?


  9. Kill the Indian chicken farmers team! I don’t eat too much chicken anyway, and never from Venky’s, so no hidden feelings for Blackburn, I promise! 😀
    I’m hoping we are a couple of goals up by 70 minutes, can get Ben Arfa some 20 minutes of game time in front of the home fans. Will marv get a start today? Or is he still not first team fit?


  10. I am thinking a scrappy 1-0 win or 2-1 it isnt going to be pretty i think blackburn will make sure of that


  11. The prospect of HBA, marveux and Sammy coming off the bench is an exciting one and all will have an impact. Thats the difference between last year… we didnt have gamechangers from the bench or any sort of depth we have a great first team but after that we were weak.


  12. Pessimism comes second nature to us Toon fans, but I’ve a feeling in my water that we’ll get 3 points out of this game tomorrow….Trouble is I’ve also got a funny feeling about these supposed revelations from this spiv agent who’s claiming that 2 prem managers have been taking bungs that they’re going on about in the Daily Fail today…..I just hope it’s got bugg*r all to do with us like!


  13. Looking at that league table on the right of the page. Only 7 teams have a positive goal difference and only two teams have better than +2 !!


  14. Joe Soap.

    I would be surprised if that’s true to be honest.

    First of all it’s the Daily Mail and secondly, you just can’t get away with it in the country. Especially if you’re a Premier League manager. Surely to God none of them could be that stupid.


  15. Clinath.

    You just know the Benny would have moved heaven and earth in training for a start. Seems that sort of character.

    Still, be surprised if it happens. Can’t risk greatest asset like that imo.


  16. Probably better to start and come off than come into a game cold…he might think to kill the game off then make changes with 20 mins to go maybe??



    Can see the same team vs Blackburn as ran out against Villa.

    Marv will probably get a bit longer as a sub, and Ben Arfa will probably get a run around at some point.


  18. Stuart79 – I agree with you – except technically it’s horse manure you’re likely to slip on after the Lord Mayor’s show! Blackburn are the awkward sort of team we should beat – but don’t.


  19. ! An 85-year-old man was requested by his doctor for a sperm count as part of his physical exam.
    The doctor gave the man a jar and said, ‘Take this jar home and bring back a semen sample tomorrow.’
    The next day the 85-year-old man reappeared at the doctor’s office and gave him the jar, which was as clean and empty as on the previous day.
    The doctor asked what happened and the man explained, ‘Well, doc, it’s like this–first I tried with my right hand, but nothing. Then I tried with my left hand, but still nothing.
    ‘Then I asked my wife for help. She tried with her right hand, then with her left, still nothing. She tried with her mouth, first with the teeth in, then with her teeth out, still nothing.
    ‘We even called up Arleen, the lady next door and she tried too, first with both hands, then an armpit, and she even tried squeezin’ it between her knees, but still nothing.’
    The doctor was shocked! ‘You asked your neighbour?’
    The old man replied, ‘Yep, none of us could get the jar open.


  20. Hate blackburn as a team, most of their players, their manager, but the owners I love because of the hilarity they bring to blackburn. These are the kind of games we mess up on, not just last year but for the past decade really. Saying that, I thought Fulham would have beaten us at home, I’m getting the same feeling now. That being said, I don’t really rate any of blackburns players, yakubu makes Shola look energetic and steve kean is a shite manager so we really should be beating them. I’ll take a 1-0


  21. The fact we can even say ‘well I’d have Marveaux ahead of obertan’ or ‘well we have Sammy and Ben Arfa to bring on’.

    Shows we have improved the squad from a attacking sense since last season when we were saying ‘lets pray Jonas doesn’t get injured otherwise we have nothing going forward!’.


  22. Pup – I hope you’re Dad doesn’t see you talking about him like that 😛

    Dan – Stop being positive. get off that candy floss cloud woo hoo hoo 😆

    Doom and gloom (realism) remember 😛


  23. Anyone else cringing for Neil Warnock? For such a tough talker the verbal arse kissing he is giving Joey Barton is starting to get embarrassing.

    “Joey Barton won’t get in the England team until Capello goes”

    True to a point. But he also won;t get in the England team because they have better players than him to pick from.


  24. neil warnock used to make me laugh i thought he was a character in the game………………….then i saw him applauding late challanges and bad tackles and i lost all respect for him…………….pre joey barton that is


  25. Toonsy-Yeah just saw that, embarrassing. Also I’m kind of relieved that Barton is still receiving the same treatment he’d had with us at QPR, shows its not just us refs hate.

    Also, inter with 4 managers in15 months, they really do put us to shame :p


  26. i think mr cabaye will get his first goal 4 us 2mora !! hes getting closer and closer!!!

    my prediction newcastle 3 blackburn 1

    simpson collo saylor rayalor
    obertan tiote cabaye guti
    best ba

    3 points could take us up to 3rd!!! haway the lads , 45-50 thousand in st james park!!!


  27. I was thinking of that!

    I hope I never turn into that, where I’d rather moan about my football club then praise them when it’s due.


  28. Right, odd request. Absolute Radio want me to go on their show again tomorrow (third time = celebrity 😛 haha). I can’t because I’ll be at work so instead they’ve asked if I know anyone who wants to go on there and chat to them about Newcastle.

    Does anyone fancy going on the radio?


  29. Army that depends if we play like we did at villa or qpr.
    Qpr closed us down and gave us no time on the ball, and we struggled tbh.
    Hopefully our passing of the ball will improve and ensure we play like we did at villa. In which case Cabaye should do well.


  30. Toonsy…..that I am, that I am…….I’ve stunned a few lasses in my time……..had to, they won’t come willingly 😆


  31. One thing I would like to know, is what is going on with our goalkeepers??
    Without wanting to be too negative, but it was painfully obvious that Rob Elliott isn’t fit to lace Tim Kruls boots. Infact I thought he was piss poor against Notts Forest tbh.
    So What’s going on with Stevie Harper?
    I read somewhere that he wasn’t happy that Timmy had been made No1 and spat his dummy out???
    But I’ve also read he isn’t fit (knees?)
    anyone got any clues?


  32. BB, I may be wrong but I don’t think Harper is the type of man to spit his dummy out, he’ll recognize Krul is great young ‘keeper.

    He’ll obviously want to play and I feel in the next round of the cup Harper will play (if fit) because I think Elliot only played so we could get his debut out of the way.

    If Harper can get over these little niggles I feel he will be no. 2.


  33. I’m really confused at the transfer of Elliott. Someone clearly doesn’t have any confidence in Harper for whatever reason, and we have brought in this guy for next to nowt.
    But prem quality he certainly isnt. So is he just a temporary thing? if so why not just loan him from Charlton.
    There’s something funny going on.


  34. BB, Stevie boy has spent the majority of his career sitting on the bench for us, and as far as I’m aware never had a whinge. I tend to think it’s a fitness issue with him.

    Witters, caterpillar lip never usually has a good word to say about us, so I’m guessing he’s basing our judgment on our (almost) dazzling start to the season.

    I can see it being a low scoring draw to be honest.

    The Venky’s bus is coming,
    And everybody’s jumping,
    New York to San Fransisco,
    A funky chicken disco.



  35. hahaha Ice Pup, quality. I can well understand his frustration. Seen many a bandit get it’s screen put through down Whitley. I used to make a packet on the fruities in the ’80s, back then there were loads of nudgers you could read pretty easily, and know when they were due to payout. Not these days, I avoid them like the plague. Bet that poor bloke had just blew his Giro in 10 minutes 😀


  36. @ rod & batty

    lads im a fair going church lad i have no idea about betting or worse still violence of any description the owld dog sent me it i put it on as i was in shock =O


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