Hatem Ben Arfa has paid tribute to the fans after his goalscoring exploits at Bolton Wanderers yesterday.
It’s been a long road back to fitness for the Frenchman after nearly a year out of the game, but there are signs that the 24-year-old is starting to rediscover a level of form that will see him in the starting line up before long.
Ben Arfa impressed from the bench in the 3-2 reverse against West Brom last week and topped that off with another impressive showing and an equally impressive finish against Bolton yesterday. Using stats from the top of my head, that is now two assists and a goal he has grabbed in his last couple of games which perhaps indicates that the No10 role may be the place for the former Marseille man after all.
“I was very happy to be on the pitch and to score that goal. It feels great. I think I’m just coming near to 100 per cent after my injury. I feel sharp and I feel good,” Ben Arfa told nufc.co.uk.
He continued: “And I’m really happy because the fans are behind me and supporting me, which is important to me. I was very surprised when I came out of the tunnel to see that 4,000 fans were in Manchester to support us, but I think it’s a great thing.”
Manchester? Well he’s nearly right I guess so I’ll let him off!
Of course now the call will come for him to start at Anfield on Friday evening and being honest I can’t see a reason why he shouldn’t. We played much better when he came on so, logically thinking anyway, we should play better from the start with Ben Arfa in the side. The problem is that logic doesn’t always work…
However Ben Arfa is hopeful that he features more and after his admission that he is nearing 100% fitness after his annus horribilis he just wants the goals to start flowing as he targets three points against Liverpool.
“I just hope that the goals are going to come one after another now,” said Ben Arfa.
“It was important to get a win because the next game is going to be very hard and very important. It’s a good start. The atmosphere at Anfield is very special but the most important thing will not be the ground – it will be the three points.”
He seems happy enough, which is important. There have been a lot of calls to include Ben Arfa from a lot of people but I think Alan Pardew has done it the right way so far in keeping him back and making sure he is 100% before giving him a starting role. We’re not there yet, but his appearances from the bench seem to suggest that it’s only a matter of time before we see Hatem in the starting XI.
Whether it’s at Liverpool though remains to be seen…