If there is one player who has caused supporter unrest when it comes to team selection it is Hatem Ben Arfa.
Undoubtedly the lad has talent and can create magic with the ball at his feet, but there are also failings in his game, which included work rate and his willingness to work for the team when he doesn’t have the ball.
I used to have concerns about that side of things myself, but not anymore. We’ve seen in recent weeks that Ben Arfa is capable of of putting in a shift in both attack and defence, and that he is willing to help out the team while retaining that little bit of spark that can win a match in an instant, which can only be a good thing.
So are we starting to see what the real Hatem Ben Arfa can be capable of? I think so, and I think we’ll start to see a lot more of him as the season draws to a close. Make no mistake, the guy has not long been back from a horrific injury, and then another injury in pre-season. He’s been out a long time and it will take him a while to get back up to speed. I think we are now seeing what he really is capable of.
Alan Pardew seems to think Ben Arfa is approaching top form also. Speaking to the local press today he was full of praise for the Frenchman, even when talking about his work rate. To me that is a sign that Benny will be starting again on Sunday.
What do you make of it though? Do you think we are starting to see the best of Benny? Is there still room for improvement? Should he be guaranteed a start? Or do you want to see more from the mercurial Frenchman?
Your thoughts please.