So I’m guessing most of you have seen the news that Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out over the busy festive period?
The maverick Frenchman injured his hamstring in Europa League action and returned to action four games later against Fulham last week.
Unfortunately, and despite his promising performance, he aggravated the injury at Craven Cottage and missed the game against Manchester City on Sunday, with the decision now being made by management to keep him out of action until the new year, essentially to protect the 25-year-old from any further damage and a potential longer term injury lay-off for the playmaker.
Manager Alan Pardew said: “There is a danger he could tear his hamstring. If he did that he would be out for two or three months whereas if we do it the right way and be sensible about it, it may only be three weeks. And obviously that is the route we are going to take.”
Not good news when you consider he is our only creative player who has, well, created much this season. Add to that the fact he can change a game in an instant and it is undoubtedly cause for concern. Is it cause for too much concern though?
Many people will be disappointed with this news of course, but if you look at the games Ben Arfa will miss you have to ask if, on paper at least, his presence in the team would have much bearing on what many expect the results to be. Granted he will be a miss against QPR for sure, but what about Arsenal or Manchester United? Those two teams can hurt us with or without Ben Arfa in the side.
This is why I’m thinking that perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that he’s being wrapped up in cotton wool. Like Pardew says, the last thing we need is him sidelined for a large bulk of the remainder of the season so if he he is to be missing, could it actually turn out to be at the right time so we can use him against teams where he can really do some damage?
Just a thought…