With Hatem Ben Arfa once again due to return to training on Tyneside there is no doubt that the expectation levels will start to rise.
There is little doubt that Hatem Ben Arfa can be a special player for us. He is skilful, tricky, has pace and can do something that little bit different during a match.
That much is evident and has always been so.
It’s just a shame that we’ve not had the chance to observe this at close quarters on a regular basis as serious injury has managed to put a limit on the amount of times we’ve seen Benny in the black and white shirt.
My own personal view is that it is just desperately unlucky on the part of Ben Arfa whilst others seem to think that this could be a problem in the making and have even dubbed him “Kieron Ben Arfa” due to the amount of time that he has been out for.
Personally I feel this is harsh and that people are trying to use an extreme example to justify their point. It’s a bit tacky if truth be told as when you compare the injury records of the two players you will see that they are poles apart.
Kieron Dyer has a huge history of injury problems with the most memorable ones, for me anyway, being all of the little niggles and strains that he used to pick up whilst he played for us. Of course there is the broken leg he suffered at West Ham which kept him out for 17 months aswell as the recent injury he picked up three minutes into his QPR debut, but the fact is that he has always been fragile. To put it in perspective, Alan Shearer played over 100 more games than Dyer did for Newcastle, and Shearer wasn’t without his injury problems and even retired before Dyer left the club.
So how can a player with a string of injuries – some serious but mostly not serious – be compared to a player who had his leg broken in two places after a tackle from nasty Nigel de Jong and then had his ligaments raked thanks to another tough tackle from Roger Espinoza in pre-season?
Time will tell if Ben Arfa is injury prone or not. But judging a player after two impact injuries, both of which happened in a game and can happen to anyone, is a bi harsh in my opinion. Wait and see.
Likewise I feel it’s folly to expect miracles from the lad. I know some fans will scoff at this, but when he returns he is literally going to be just like a new signing, which means that he is going to take time to adjust and adapt like any other new player as that is essentially just what he is.
Whilst he put in a stellar performance against Everton it’s worth remembering that he is unlikely to be able to replicate that in many games. Once in a while would be nice though… He’ll need time and patience.
Is Ben Arfa really a crock? Nah. Just unlucky so far.