Ben Arfa and Gouffran in contention for Southampton

Back in action this Sunday.
Back in action this Sunday.
Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran could be set to start against Southampton at the weekend.

Ben Arfa has been out for two months after suffering a recurrence of a hamstring injury in the defeat against Fulham in December and should have been back in action by now although a virus has delayed his return while Gouffran managed to avoid serious injury against Tottenham when the worst was feared for the new signing from Bordeaux.

Both are unlikely to make the trip to Ukraine and will be kept back on Tyneside with a view to starting them against Southampton. Those are the words of Alan Pardew who revealed such at an event held in honour of Sir Bobby Robson’s 80th birthday although I confess that I’ve only heard that through people who were present and can’t find any concrete quotes just yet. He also said he’ll be naming his strongest available side on Thursday just in case you’re interested.

It’s an exciting prospect in truth and we’re almost at the point where we have a fully fit squad to choose from. With Ben Arfa on one side and Gouffran on the other there is real attacking threat on each side of the pitch, supplemented by a surprisingly attacking Moussa Sissoko operating in the space behind Papiss Cisse.

Finally we’re in a position to name our strongest side which is something we’ve been waiting too long for. There is real potential in this team and I honestly believe that this squad is one of the best we’ve had since the days of Sir Bobby Robson.



The task is to secure Premier League safety first and foremost before kicking on and seeing just how high we can finish in what has been an awful season for us compared to last term. With a full squad to choose from and quality available to us that task should, in theory, be made a lot easier and perhaps we could progress in the Europa League to boot?

Are things looking up finally?

About toonsy

A lifelong Newcastle fan and current webmaster of this very 'blog who has the sole aim of creating a place by Newcastle United fans, for Newcastle United fans.

72 thoughts on “Ben Arfa and Gouffran in contention for Southampton

  1. Bloody well hope so Toonsy. Can’t wait to see our best line up. If they hit form they’ll be way better then even last year. I don’t, however, share your pessimism over the EL tie. We won’t be relegated and I’d love us to win on Thursday with a very strong side.

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  2. So to all those people saying keep a strong team, we will have a strong team! HBA, Gouffran, Debuchy are all on stand-by.

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  3. Have a squad that can pound Southampton, don’t worry about Europa. With no Europe next year, this team can get as many games in the two cups as in Europa. They could win a trophy and finish high enough for Europa. With 800,000 for each place gained in the table, NUFC could be able to purchase another lad or two to fill out the roster for the two games a week periods. Let Shola lead the line and give Cisse, Cabaye, Santon & Sissoko a rest. They will really have to hustle to keep up with the H-bomb and Gouffron, so keep them fresh.

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  4. Firstly, Happy 80th Birthday Sir Bobby Robson. Hope you’re rest well.

    Secondly, welcome back Benny. Personally I’d play Gouffran against the Saints but start Benny on the bench. He’s gonna struggle for match fitness for the first few games back and what an impact sub to have on the bench. Saints haven’t had a game in 2 weeks so may well last better over the 90mins. To be able to bring Benny, Anita and Marv on when we start to flag abit is exactly what we need IMO.
    Whilst teams in and around us are winning games and picking up points I still worry about the league until we are mathematically clear of the drop zone. So while its great to have a full squad to choose from, it’s points on the board I’m desperate to see, and having Hatem back should make that task alittle easier.

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  5. as i said on last thread dont expect benny to come out all guns blazing hes been out 2 months it takes time,it would be nice to get into the last 16 of euro,but dont forget each step up in PL means a lot of cash to the club and thats something pardew will have in his mind for the owner,just a thought like πŸ˜‰ lets hope we do both

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  6. Sir Bobby would of loved the creativity of some of our frenchies .Happy birthday sir Bobby and hope you rest in peace.

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  7. Do we need too win EL. We will meet Ansji from Russia and that is not a good match in next round. Them have a lot of good players. Will go on in the liga insted.

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  8. Regarding the Southampton game as well, I’d take the opportunity to speak with Puncheon while we’re down there as well. With his contract ending this season I’d defo take him as a free agent in the summer. I’m sure it’s we’re allowed to approach players with only 6 months left without the permission of the club.

    Ice – totally agree mate, ease the lad back in while we have plenty of options. He can always change a game coming off the bench for the last 20-30 mins.

    Had the pup down for his final injections this afternoon mate so will be out and about with him soon – cant wait πŸ˜‰

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  9. Agree ,Benny needs treating with kid gloves ,don’t want a relapse .Kinda glad he’s not ready for the trip to ukraine as that pitch will be a bugger you can bet .

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  10. Good news can’t wait to seet Goofy Cisse Benny in attack with Sissoko helping out.
    Also glad to hear that Pards is going to start a strong squad on thurs.

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  11. SHARPY you might change your mind after a while mate πŸ˜€ come wind rain,hail and snow you have to go but one thing for def “you will be a lot fitter,until a few months ago i did 5mil a day with the dog but she is worse now and will kill ANYTHING that moves outside,dont fancy paying the farmer for a cow or sheep πŸ™„ keep her on leash you might say but dont forget she can pull a skip nee bother so what hope have i,she just runs round the big garden now fenced in,but anything i do now its all aches and pains, but thats because ive lost fitness πŸ™

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  12. Ice – was thinking that this morning to be fair like. Got up to let him out in the garden and the lawn was all frosted over. He even looked at me to say “ya kiddin aren’t ya?, you expect me to shite out there when its that bloody frosty?!”. He was out and in quick as you like :lol:.
    Had a busy couple of days like. The boy was 4 yesterday so party on Sunday then had him out yday. God knows where those 4 yrs went :shock:. Had a shite day today tho. The in-laws dog got put to sleep today so the missus has been distraught.

    Would you dog not wear a muzzle when you walk him/her like mate or would it not really work?.

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  13. SHARPY aye funny things when they are pups,yes she has muzzle mate but shes a a/bull so they use there body power to crush the shit out of things already had to replace metal gate twice in back garden 😯 there used in the states a lot on cattle farms to keep grizzly bears away so have some balls,thing is she loves people and more so kids,stand all day if you stroke or pat her

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  14. i see BA has said if toon get another couple of french players on top of what we have we will have the best club team in the world πŸ™„ πŸ™„ what the fk is he after,but said he could not play in that type of team

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  15. Ice – I’ve heard of the Durham panther but I’m not sure we have any grizzlies mate πŸ˜†
    She sounds like a right little powerhouse. I’d say brick that gate up but she’d probably have the that down as well!. Oscar knocked a house plant over the other day, so he’s not far behind πŸ˜†

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  16. Ice
    Didn’t he say “one of the best teams in world” and that was only if the players clicked. Get what you’re saying though, if he thought that why didn’t he stay.

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  17. Can’t wait to see our lineup for Southampton. I hope we score 3 or 4. Strange comments from Ba ice. If he can’t see himself fitting into this lineup how could Carroll. No offense to Andy, would like to see him do well but he surely is the wrong style for us now? He seems a natural for Stoke.

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  18. ANDY as he said he could not play in that type of team,maybe because he would have to “pass”the ball πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€

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  19. WTF is that about with Ba?!, what a weird thing for him of all people to say!. Mine you, we may get those French lads he’s referring to, but it will always be a curly haired Argie CB that strikes the most fear into Ba (if you nose what I mean) πŸ˜›

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  20. G2 you could be right mate,i also think the days of out and out midfield spoilers are numbered too, teams are learning to pass round them or outside them,mind you need top players to do it

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  21. I see Thauvin has explained why he signed a pre contract with Lille rather than us. Think it’s fair, he’ll get more game time there, better for his development, he’ll also get more attention from other teams.

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  22. Think you’re spot on @19 as well ice mate. And about the midfield spoiler role as well, although against teams like Stoke players like Tiote could continue to come in handy. Tiote must learn to control himself though. Some of his tackles have been ridiculous. Far too many cards, even for a holding midfielder. More and more we look like an explosive counter-attacking team to me with Ben Arfa back in there.

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  23. Aye no offense to you either Andymag! What’s happening with the tall Geordie anyway? Is he getting any playing time with West Ham? Strange how little he has developed his game in the last couple of seasons.

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  24. well ime off for a while got to pick mrs up at airport πŸ™ ,guess thats me back on the tablet when she gets home πŸ™

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  25. GT
    Big Andy hasn’t been helped with injuries and Dalguish/Rodgers didn’t really know how to use him properly. A bit like if you were to take someone’s phone but realised there was a pass code lock, you try different numbers but it only locks you out further, what your eventually left with is an uncompromising, impenetrable phone that needs to returned to the original owner.

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  26. thinks its a mistake sending a strong team and dont be surprised if the 1s calling for a strong team will be the 1st calling for pards head if we lose to southampton

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  27. Interesting Ba reckons he couldn’t play in French league or now with Newcastle as we are the 21st team of ligue 1
    He’s all about himself which is fair enough, he ain’t doing that well at chelski though especially given they have a team of playmakers … Or do I mean glory hunters

    Know what you mean about dog walking – pain in the ass when it’s pudding down and dog rolls round in puddles and mud

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  28. Well if we have HBA, Gouffran and Debuchy waiting for the southampton game and we come back relatively unscathed from Khakiv, we should be ok. Where and when does Mbiwa figure in the first team btw?

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  29. I guess some fans need to do a reality test.
    We will not rip any1 apart like in the old days… those days of scoring 5+ goal a game is long gone. we will only score a goal or 2 as all the teams in the PL have good technical ability to defend and see lots of videos and prepare well for each game…. I would like to have a manager who can get this team to punish other team on their mistakes and also be clinical….
    I dont think our strongest team can run all the teams but can challenge the top4 on our day. we need is depth in quality to counter any more injuries/ out of form players.

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  30. dog @ 28 dont you meen tablets πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜† dont tell her i sed that πŸ˜‰

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  31. Great news. Just want to guarantee safety and then see what the transfer window brings.
    If we keep this squad together and bring in a back up striker we could be in for a cracker next year.

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  32. Can’t understand Arsenal fans that want Wenger out.
    Cups like the FA and League are much of a lottery anyway.
    League and CL – their team isn’t good enough. What do they expect him to do?!
    I think they’ll get top 4 again. And they haven’t got the 4th best squad so he’ll have overperformed with them again.

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  33. So Pardew said he will be naming his strongest available team on Thursday.

    Read into that what you will , but for me , he is saying that he will be naming the strongest team from those players who will make the trip and that team could well consist of fringe players.

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  34. ST – I think the Arsenal fans are pissed off coz they know the team isn’t good enough and they want Wenger out because he regularly has money to spend in the windows and for whatever reason he chooses not to spend it on the positions everyone can see desperately need improving.
    Regarding the FA Cup tho, Bburn had ONE shot on target. As he rightly said, he’s won the cup 4 times. That more than any other manager over the same period. If Fergie had done the same, the press wouldn’t dare question him over his decision making.
    I like Wenger and apparantly he has Β£70m to spend in the summer. He needs to spend it wisely in my opinion coz he could have a league winning side with the players he already has and Β£70m to spend – IMO

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  35. Team for Thurs 4-2-3-1

    —————–Krul—————–
    Simmo-M’Biwa-Collo-Haidara
    ————-Tiote-Anita————
    ——-Jonas-Sissoko-Marv—–
    —————–Cisse—————

    Team for Sunday 4-2-3-1

    —————–Krul—————–
    Debuchy-Saylor-Collo-Santon
    ————Tiote-Cabaye———
    —-Jonas-Sissoko-Gouffran—
    —————Cisse—————–

    Looking forward to a good week for us.

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  36. [email protected]

    ‘We wont be relegated and I would love us to send out a very strong team on Thursday.’

    If Villa and Reading win this weekend and we lose to Southampton , we will be going to Swansea just one point clear of a relegation spot.

    Any player coming back from the Ukraine on Friday with even just a slight injury requiring only a few days out of action will not be available for selection on Sunday.

    Too big a risk for me .

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  37. @Sharpy
    If that’s true then criticism is fair enough. I just struggle to believe that any manager would decline the offer to spend money when the team clearly needs it ❗
    @Sidekick agree.
    We rest Sissoko/Colo/Cabaye/Cisse and we still field a pretty strong team (apart from up front..) but aren’t chancing too much before the weekend.

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  38. As long as he’s properly fit this time and we don’t throw him in again as we have done, a few times before it seems…should be alright though, touch wood.

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  39. ST – I’m nee gooner but I have family who are and it really does their tits in. They love the style of football he brought to the club and some of the players he’s brought in but the board and Wenger never hide the fact there is money available to spend. But he’s a stubborn old git and wants to prove to the world that he’s right about him keepers and defenders.

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  40. BATTY @38,ime nee grass πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ [email protected] πŸ˜†

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  41. I rate Liverpool about as highly as I like them, not a great deal, but does anyone think if it was Swansea we were playing saturday we could beat them by 5 goals? I just want saturday out of the way and at this stage no I dont give one about the EL. Whatever Pards does with his teams, we need to beat Southampton.

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  42. I’m really not worried by relegation. Too many poor teams out there. Unfortunately Southampton not one of them. We will do well to get a draw. Two clean sheets would be good. Expect similar teams to oblong except Obertan instead of Sissoko in the Ukraine. And hoping HBA will start instead of Jonas at Soton.

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  43. It will be time lost on the training ground and distribution in preparation that will be the bigger problem for the Southampton game.

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  44. TSUNKI
    I think the next two games against Southampton and Swansea will be a good indication of how far we have come as a team, they are both decent teams that we would have struggled against until recently. But the last 3 games in the league hopefully show that we will be a difficult team for them now and I bet Soton aren’t looking forward to the long trip, they have had some really good results of late and usually a run like that has to end at some point. I fancy us to do well for the rest of this season, we have a better squad now with players like Colo knowing it’s either up your game or there’s french international sitting on the bench! Pardew just needs to make it click now, it still looked like a bit of a mess on Thursday and players that hadn’t played together. The forward play needs to improve but having HBA will help. The defence is better now and needs to keep organised against Southampton who seem to push forward in numbers with this new coach. We need to make sure we hurt them with Gouffran and HBA when they have too many numbers pushed forward.

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  45. —————–krul———————
    Mbwia—–Taylor—Coloccini—Haidara
    ———–Anita——-Tiote————-
    -Gutierrez——-Sissoko——-Marveaux
    —————–:Cisse——————-

    If Gouffran and Ben Arfa are ready I would have them on the bench and give them a run out early in the second half to get them up to speed for facing Soton. I would take Sissoko and Guti off if that was the case and MOVE marveaux to the middle with Ben Arfa and Fortran on either side

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  46. Wonder who Pardew will drop to keep Gutierrez in the team if we play Gouffran and Ben Arfa out wide. I wouldn’t be suprised if he played Gutierrez in goal or centre back because he seems to have an aversion to ever dropping or subbing him.

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  47. “It will be time lost on the training ground and distribution in preparation that will be the bigger problem for the Southampton game.”

    That is probably true and another good reason not to make wholesale changes to the team that starts in Thursday.

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  48. Paulos :mrgreen:

    Maybe he could get a little backpack thing for Jonas so he can sit in it andride around on Sissoko’s back. Much like Yoda did on Luke Skywalker in Empire Strikes Back, then he wwon’t have to leave him out as such.

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  49. Andy @29 πŸ˜†
    loved the phone analogy, but in the case of Andy Carroll I guess we’re not really talking about smart phones, are we? πŸ˜‰

    meanwhile:

    Pootle says:
    February 20, 2013 at 02:26

    ^^^Fortran????? Stupid feckin smartphone. :mrgreen:

    Wow, you’ve got Fortran on yours?
    Now THAT’s what I call a smart phone πŸ˜†
    http://www.fortran.com/

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  50. Fortran is like the Latin of the programming world isn’t it? It must be a smartphone it obviously knows its history πŸ˜€

    Don’t get me wrong, I expect us to beat southampton and I think its going to be a decent show, I just don’t think we are going to start handing out beatings at least not until next season.

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  51. Andy, Your phone analogy should have read like this πŸ™‚ it (Carroll) looked like a nice bit of kit and well worth paying top dollar for. Then you realize it is really a cheap bit of crap and you have been ripped off πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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  52. Chris G
    Andy is like an iPod touch being used like an iPhone 4S. πŸ˜‰
    Team heading to Ukraine
    Shola Ameobi , Vurnon Anita , Gael Bigirimana , Yohan Cabaye , Papiss Cisse , Fabricio Coloccini , Rob Elliot , Dan Gosling , Jonas Gutierrez , Massadio Haidara , Tim Krul , Sylvain Marveaux , Gabriel Obertan , James Perch , Danny Simpson , Moussa Sissoko , Steven Taylor , Cheick Tiote , Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa

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  53. Ba sounds like he realises his chelsea stay might be short so fancying coming back 😎

    Southampton will be won if we come out the blocks rapid and dent their confidence with an early goal.

    They will then have to come out and attack us which isnt really their game.

    Crowd behind us will see us through hopefully as we may tire late on.

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  54. I guess my prediction about Campbell not going to Ukraine was right. He’ll be too tired to fly over Europe again having only just got back from Italy.

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  55. Glad to see a good side going out, and it still leaves us with some of our best players not having to fly out.

    Georgio maybe Gosling has neen showing good signs in training, and it could have been worse we could have took Ranger and Sammi πŸ˜†

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  56. Poor Williamson. Can’t even get anywhere near the team now. πŸ˜†

    I am expecting Haidara to start and Mapou to partner Colo in central defence.
    Simpson at RB.

    Gosling 😯 Welcome back Dan. Sadly i do not think that his future is with us.

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  57. Gosling. And Simpson. Hmm. Ah. Well…er… Yes. Okey dokey then.

    I suppose its a reasonable team. Not what I would cal the strongest but strong-ish. 😐

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