A debut to remember

Hatem Ben Arfa.

Hatem Ben Arfa.
Do you remember?
Hatem Ben Arfa was once again the spark in a somewhat disjointed Newcastle United performance during their previous league outing at home to Aston Villa last Sunday.

The mercurial forward has been the pick of the bunch so far this season for the magpies, despite an 11th hour return to pre-season training following a run-in with the French Football Federation in the fallout to Euro 2012, and hence only 45 minutes of Tuesday night football at Hartlepool under his belt. His name on the team sheet on the opening day of the season came as a pleasant surprise to many of the United faithful, and with the magpies’ squad looking thin after injuries to captain Fabricio Coloccini and ‘keeper Tim Krul during the international break, added to the already sidelined Danny Simpson, Ryan Taylor and Cheik Tiote, the Geordies will be hoping for another inspired performance again next time out.

His thunderous right footed equaliser against Aston Villa last week was reminiscent of his first strike (albeit with his left) on his full debut in a black and white shirt, coincidentally, against Monday night’s opponents Everton at Goodison Park. Back in September 2010, Alan Shearer infamously quoted that “we don’t really know much about him” following his move from Ligue 1 outfit Marseille. Well the same certainly cannot be said of him now – David Moyes and his troops are aware first hand of the threat he provides in Newcastle’s attack.

The day of Ben Arfa’s first strike for The Magpies was also the last time Newcastle collected all of the spoils at Goodison Park, in their inaugural “second coming” to the top flight following a season of rebuilding in the Championship. Despite it being back when Everton were notoriously slow starters, that win (along with a 6-0 home thrashing of Aston Villa) was one of the first indications to the supporters that their team might just make an impact back in the big time. Newcastle enjoyed great success during their season in the Championship, with many seeing it as a necessary cleansing exercise for a club that had been mismanaged from top to bottom for some years.

Despite the success, many fans were wary of how the players might cope back in the top flight; after all, this was largely the same group who were partially responsible for the clubs downfall in May 2009. Victory over Everton went a long way to confirming what many suspected; that those players had underperformed during their relegation season and were capable of much more.

Another of United’s current blue chip brigade made his full competitive debut at Goodison Park that day and, like Ben Arfa, it was another impressive performance from midfield enforcer Cheik Tiote. Tiote completed 46 of his 47 passes and made more tackles than any other Newcastle player, confirming his credentials as the holding midfielder Newcastle so desperately craved.

Tiote was alleged to be back in training following a calf problem sustained in the opening day win over Tottenham, however it has now been confirmed that he will be out of Monday’s clash against the Toffees. While this will doubtless be a massive blow to United’s chances, it opens up an opportunity to one of the magpies’ fringe players. If given the go ahead – much akin to Tiote back in September 2010 – Gael Bigirimana will make his first Premier League start following an impressive performance from the bench last time out, and fans will be hoping for another debut to remember.

Unlike 2010, Everton have started this season strongly, and would have to be favourites to claim all three points on Monday night. Newcastle will need some big performances from their players if they are to take anything from the game – a repeat of the guile and determination displayed in 2010 would provide Newcastle with more than a fighting chance.

And, just in case you’ve forgotten…

By Martn Gibson

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41 thoughts on “A debut to remember

  1. Aye, canny goal that one, like. A few more on Tuesday morning 😯 would be great to see. I can’t say I’m all that confident, though.


  2. A good read Martin, I loved the goal v Villa especially since the radio Newcastle commentator had said earlier in the match that Benny’s right leg was only for standing on 😆


  3. Just read Troyer’s re-writing of NUFC history @ 159 on a previous thread. Troyer, I’ve heard the former Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police at the time of the Hillsborough disaster has read your post, and would like you to help him in his current predicament.

    A classic Troyerism in the same post. “We might now be Premier champions if it wasn’t for his [Mikey’s] greed by him wanting all his losses and more back.” Followed by, “I’m not praising FFS, but many say we would have gone out of business if he had stayed. How does anyone know that?” Priceless! 😳 😆 😆 😆


  4. B&B, don’t question Troy, some prick called Heroic Tino might butt in and he is a right wanker 🙂 🙂

    I remember the Everton game because Tiote showed us what a good DM can do, he transformed the shape of the team IMO..


  5. Martin good read mate, thats the exciting thing about Benny that could happen anytime in any game.
    Richie nice to have you back mate if only to wind the wombat up 😆


  6. Welcome back mate.. missed your banter around here.. Ice and I have nearly turned on each other while you have been away…. We have still paid out on you even though you we’re not about.. We found it comforting 🙂 🙂 🙂


  7. aye good read,great to see richietoon back too,me and aussie did try and watch your back but what could we do against a mob 😆 😆 😆


  8. Richie did you happen to see Aussie take an almighty tantrum with Troy ? Jez you want to see the state of the place the toys,blankets,rattles and dummies were all over the place, he was like a tasmanian devil, and he pissed off without picking all his them up 😆
    But thankfully he’s calmed down now, and it might have even done him some good, as he seems like a calmer little wombat


  9. wonder hows dave is going with his rally car driver this morning 😀 aussie is it right richie had to go on two diets as he wasnt getting enough on one,just what dave told me like 😀


  10. Ice 🙂 I’m not sure about the diet but Richie is like a set of twins….with one head 🙂 🙂


  11. Aussie I know you did and I was proud of ye lad 😉
    Ice now remember we did say that Richie would get an abuse free day after all the shit he’s had. But maybe a full day is a wee bit too much 😀
    The rally driver is away to work so i’m having a break 😉




    I’ve yet to see Aussies apology and he refuses to show me the thread. I therefore continue to treat him as a suspect device until he is big enough to show me.

    @ B&B

    You know you will get yourself in knots again if I start. Your last effort to explain the Carroll saga was cringeworthy. I thought you would be scared off. 😛 😳


  13. Cheers ice 😛
    Dave….didn’t see Aussies strop, can’t say I’m surprised tho cos he’s a tetchy fecka 😉


  14. Troy did Aussie not show it to you ? Aussie come on sort it out lad it’s your own fault as I told you to wait untill he was about, I think you need to find it or just issue another and get this put to bed mate. 😉


  15. I’ts a one time deal Big Dave, I was big enough to post it, the least Troy can do is find it.. is that too much to ask??




    I love banter more than most but it’s not funny when it turns into hissy fits. It’s hilarious for me but the other hissy fitters who go ballistic get upset as well and before I know it, the blog is like the Wailing Wall. 😳

    I can picture everyone in their living rooms bowing up and down, hands in the air, on the their knees, Wailing at their laptops!
    😆 😆 😆

    Then the comments come in. ” Just ignore him”
    ” Troll ! “. “.Troy I can’t get on the blog for you” (Despite having never posted for hours or days prior to them Wailling)

    I actually find the disclaimer actually reminds them who they are and they keep away which is refreshing. It’s quite refreshing to converse with blokes with backbones. 😆

    So if you are big enough to show me your apology I will cut you some slack . 😉


  17. Troy, 🙂 🙂 You seem more upset by this than me. You keep bringing up so it must be playing on your mind. I called you out and it must have hit a nerve. You say hiss fit, I say me logging off because you go off track and struggle to stay on point in a debate.. I know you are hurting but you need to move on.. lets spark up the peace pipe mate 🙂


  18. @BD

    Do you recall FFS plans to build the St James village in Gallowgate and expand the stand do SJP would hold 60k. ?

    People conveniently forget about that when discussing his legacy and plans for SJP.

    All they say is the club would have gone bust.

    I suppose he is a property developer and Ashley a glorified market stall trader.

    But Ashley never have him the chance as the poor fella lay on his death bed watching the unscrupulous Ashley take advantage.

    Ashley should have took 5 mins out to visit poor Freddie on his deathbed and he might have told him the club had manageable debt and he had plans to make us even bigger.

    I suppose it’s been a little lesson to Ashley and probably humbled him.

    I still chortle to myself when reflecting over the years at Ashley’s mouthpiece Dekka.

    He always stated Ashley bought the club to enjoy, to be a fan, how Mikey would finance the club to a tune of between £10m & £20m per season.

    We then hit the recession and Ashley lost a fortune. Almost half his wealth. We then got the rhetoric. Mikes been stung in the recession and we now have to make the club self sufficient.

    That was understandable but he didn’t help himself by taking us down cos of his incompetence but to be fair he held his hands up and told us he had fallen woefully short as an owner.

    Now that Mikey is now showing he has the club finances under control and he is richer than he has ever been, even more so than when he made those promises about financing the club to a tune of £10m -£20m a season, will he choose to do so?

    He’s a crafty bugger woe Mikey. Instead of having a St James village similar to Chelseas, we have the Sports Direct Arena multi coloured warehouse! 😯




    I’m being serious with you. I don’t want another tantrum like last time when you went to bed in the huff, slamming the door behind you. 😛 😛 😛

    One of the greatest moments in blog history! 😆 😆 😆 😆

    I never thought Trumpets could be topped when Dave blew his bugle but Mount Aussie erupted that night. 😳 😛 😛

    I must go back and cut and paste it. I might find the apology on my journey. Woo hoo hoo hoo 😆 😆

    You got any bushes left in your garden Aussie? Or did you use them
    All last time to bash your ute (open back truck ) to death? 😆 😛 😆 😛 😆 😛 😆 😛 💡 😛 😆 😛 😆 😛 😆 😛 💡 😛 💡 😛 😆 😳

    Wow! I had a few ideas during that laughter spell . 😛


  20. @Richie

    Good anagram fella. You had the upside down pair confused. 😉

    Everyone spotted it straight away but the little fellas from down under needed a clue to help them. 😛 😛

    Begas is fizzin 😛

    Aussie is still beating his ute with a bush! 😆


  21. Troy yeah I have said before that FFS got things wrong but he got a lot right too.
    But any good that happened SJH gets the credit any shit and FFS gets the blame. I also find it hard to believe how some fans don’t seem to care about relegation the re naming and all the other shit but them seem to care more about Jabba not wasting his money 😕


  22. @Richie

    They are probably wondering if you are Heroic Tino posing as Richie Toon now! 😯

    They are a clueless breed the Aussies like. 😆
    😆 😆 😎 😎 😯

    Wow! My sunglasses fell of theire with laughter!


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