Hatem Ben Arfa will miss the start of Newcastle’s return to Europe as he serves a suspension dating back to his days at Marseille.

Alan Pardew and his players will fly out to Greece today for the first leg of their play-off clash with Atromitos, while the Frenchman begins a three-match European ban.

Ben Arfa was sent off in 2010 while playing for Marseille against Benfica in the Europa League before he joined Newcastle.

I doubt if anybody will be too upset about this as it’s dubious how much pitch time Hatem would have had anyway, certainly it would have been hard to imagine him featuring in Greece this Thursday.

It will be very interesting to see which players actually make the trip later today but Ben Arfa at least can put his feet up and dream about what he’ll do against Chelsea on Saturday.