Talking ahead of the match on the south coast, Alan Pardew has said that he is still not sure whether to play Ben Arfa at Southampton.

Despite a horrendous lack of creativity in the team, the Newcastle manager has stated that he hasn’t yet decided whether he will play the Frenchman, though he does acknowledge that he’s made a contribution as a substitute in recent matches.

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Alan Pardew had this to say when speaking to the Shields Gazette;

play ben arfa“Hatem has had an influence, I have been pleased with his application and the quality he has brought onto the pitch.

“I will be thinking about him but in terms of whether he will start or not, I have not made that decision.”

When Yohan Cabaye was still pulling the strings, it papered over a lot of cracks in terms of a lack of creativity and imagination in the rest of the team, allowing Alan Pardew to leave Ben Arfa out if he wanted to.

However, with a run of failing to score in 9 of the last 13 Premier League matches, surely Pardew has to at last give Hatem his head again. In fact it could have been even worse if it hadn’t been for the two very late winners against Villa and Palace, the latter only thanks to Ben Arfa’s intervention.

I think sadly the biggest obstacle to Ben Arfa getting a start is now a matter of pride, an overwhelming number of supporters now see it as a no-brainer to play Hatem and that could pose a problem, with Pardew not wanting to be seen to be pressurised by us plebs.

Saturday’s team selection will tell us everything.

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