In their latest podcast, reporters from The Chronicle have been discussing what has proved to be a very unpopular opinion amongst Newcastle fans – “Was Hatem Ben Arfa overrated?”.
This comes from Stuart Jamieson, who argues that the mercurial Frenchman is remembered too much for his spectacular goals and stunning dribbles – not the times he ‘disappeared’ in games or didn’t pull his weight.
Speaking on the Everything is Black and White Podcast last night, here’s his ‘unpopular opinion’ on enigmatic ex-Mag:
There is some merit to this for me, with everyone accepting that Hatem was inconsistent and could’ve been much better on a more regular basis if he only applied himself more, but I still believe he was one of the most exciting players we’ve seen at St James’ Park and a brilliant signing for the club.
His return of 14 goals and 16 assists in 86 games is hardly groundbreaking, however he regularly got bums off seats, gave us several memorable moments, with incredible solo goals in wins over Everton, Fulham, Bolton, Blackburn and more and was one of several player who inspired us to that 5th place finish in 2011/12 – a stunning year which allowed us to play in the Europa League (and reach the QF!) the following season.
Maybe the highlight reel does flatter him, failing to show his frustrating ability to drift in and out of games or not track back, but I think talk of him being overrated is ‘unpopular’ for a reason.