Statistical Analysis Of Hatem Ben Arfa – First Name On Team Sheet?
A look through our performances last year highlight some remarkable trends in terms of Ben Arfa’s overall contribution in an attacking area, which many perceived to be a major strength in his armoury. Has Alan Pardew been right all this time to use the player selectively, sparingly, when all around are scratching their heads?
Hatem played in 19 Premier League games last season, starting 16 and of those games Newcastle only won 4 times (losing 8 and drawing 7) with a goal difference of minus 14.
In the remaining fixtures, Newcastle not only increased their goalscoring proficiency by 65%, but created more chances and had a higher win percentage with more Premier League points.
Across the whole of the campaign five games feature prominently in terms of our overall attacking performance – (h) Wigan W3-0 (a) Man Utd L4-3 (h) Chelsea W3-2 (h) Stoke W2-1 (h) Fulham W1-0.
The one common denominator, Hatem Ben Arfa did not feature in any of these games.
In his 1459 minutes the French International contributed 4 goals and 3 assists creating 25 chances, but that pales into insignificance when you consider Yohan Cabaye (2124 minutes) scored more and created more than double the amount of chances for his teammates (53).
Hatem also found himself overtaken by the likes of Sylvain Marveaux (994 minutes) 33 chances and even Vernon Anita (1731 minutes) 34 chances, while Jonas Gutierrez managed 25 opportunities albeit with more game time.
It’s a trend that seems to have continued into 2013/14, when Ben Arfa is good he can be unplayable but consistency is the key. With two goals already the omens are good but a look beneath the surface indicates Sissoko, Cabaye and Anita have all performed statistically better.
Of course statistics only tell one side of the story, they don’t measure the excitement and anticipation a player like Ben Arfa can summon within a crowd. The enthusiasm and expectation of a player who can make the unfeasible become a reality, the outrageous possible.
Gary Neville had it wrong when he said ‘football has changed’, the reality is Newcastle have changed.
Hatem Ben Arfa would be the first player on my team sheet. Forget the facts, I want to be entertained and in his own words, “Is it forbidden to dream?”
This article is part of Ben’s latest excellent column in our magazine (see below to buy) and in his day job he is part of the excellent Physio Room team, check out their superb website HERE. You can also follow Ben on Twitter @BenDinnery and the main Physio Room Twitter account is @physioroom.
For quality coverage of Newcastle United, new issue of our magazine on sale in all Tyneside newsagents, or order now online for only £3 (plus postage) for Worldwide delivery straight to your door, or why not start a subscription – prices from only £23.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]