If Ben Arfa was a pop star, he would be Gareth Gates.
In full flow he is a graceful talent but he can stutter doing the simple stuff.
Personally, now that Cabaye has left, I think that Ben Arfa is the best player in this current Newcastle side. I have watched most matches this season and I can’t understand why he gets so much abuse.
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Okay, so he doesn’t chip in so much in defence and yes it is infuriating when he does too much and loses the ball in a precarious position. For me though, what he brings to the team completely outweighs the negatives.
His turn of pace is electric, he can stand a ball as good as anyone, and given a snippet of space he can bullet the ball into the back of the net.
I, like many fans, have been bewildered by Ben Arfa’s absence in recent games. There was talk of injury and family illness but nothing specific was announced.
When I saw him on the bench against Palace I was horrified. We were putting out the exact same pitiful eleven that lost 1-0 to bottom of the pile Fulham.
I can understand if Ben Arfa gets dropped against a big side when we need to name a resolute side that can grind out a result. Against teams like Palace, however, Hatem is in his element. This opinion was vindicated by his performance when he came on.
Palace, like many teams, were scared of him. On a couple of occasions I counted three players crowding him. The space this opens up for our other players could be significant, provided they make intelligent runs.
He’s not predictable either as he can accelerate like a McLaren down the flank and float a ball in on his right, or cut inside and shoot, cross or pass on his left. He is by far the most technically gifted player, not only at dribbling but at passing and crossing, in our team. I even saw him playing a few simple passes instead of trying to do it all himself, which is my one major concern with him.
He gets a lot of bad press for not defending but on Saturday I saw him tracking back several times and even make a defensive header in the box. Regardless of this I don’t feel Hatem should be castigated for neglecting his defensive duties. Who can remember Ginola or Robert, two of our former mercurial French talents, putting in a defensive shift? They ran at players, caused problems, made and scored goals. That is what I want to see from Ben Arfa. Debuchy has the crossing potential of a legless badger on a busy main road and therefore should be asked to hold his run when HBA attacks the full backs.
Pardew was quoted as saying; “I’ve not lost patience with him but Hatem has to gain the trust of not just me but our players and fans.” Gain the trust of the fans? This coming from a man that can’t be trusted to avoid altercations on the touchline. Pardew needs to be focusing on regaining our trust before criticizing others. AP should re-evaluate this stuttering side and try to find a way to incorporate Ben Arfa, rather than just making excuses to omit him.
Cisse was as effective in front of goal as Kinnear is at pronouncing names, until Ben Arfa dinked an inch perfect ball onto his head. Get this guy doing it every week please Alan.
In a team like Arsenal or Chelsea, Ben Arfa would flourish. He plays best in a side that’s dominating games, giving him the freedom to do what he does. He may not get into those sides but he should definitely be getting into ours.
I personally love Ben Arfa. He’s the only player (that we have on a permanent contract) that excites me. I’ve got a lot of time for Sissoko and Gouffran but it’s Ben Arfa that has the ability to light up a game single-handedly. I have watched through teary eyes as many of my favourites have left the club.
I can only pray that HBA is not to be the next this summer.
You can follow Billy on Twitter @billymerlin
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