Cabaye’s Departure Led To Newcastle Players Turning On Ben Arfa After Sunderland Humiliation
It is reported today by the Guardian that Ben Arfa’s lack of workrate had led senior players to openly say he shouldn’t be in the team and this fits in with something I was told by a very good contact.
I’m reliably informed that after the final whistle of the (yet another) dismal 3-0 defeat to Sunderland, once the players got back into the dressing room they all turned on Hatem Ben Arfa and accused him of not trying and being a liability.
The fact that Yohan Cabaye had just left is crucial, as previous to that it would appear that he was such a big influence in the dressing room, he managed to hold things together and stop the animosity becoming so open.
However, once Yohan went through the exit door, Hatem was on his own, quite literally.
The Guardian state;
‘It is understood a group of senior players expressed annoyance at Ben Arfa’s lack of workrate and discipline and have made it clear that they do not believe he currently merits a starting place….feel he can be a liability when possession is lost.’
While Alan Pardew was talking along the same lines as well and it would be no surprise to me where the Guardian might have got their information from…
“Hatem needs a good finish to the season for a number of reasons and he is aware of that.
“If he is going to play then he has to gain the trust of not just me but our players, that he is the real deal.
“We have given him a fitness programme because by his own admission, in the last few games he played, Hatem didn’t play very well by his own admission.
“His confidence is a little low, and his fitness was a bit low for whatever reason, but we have got some extra work into him and he’s looking more confident.
“He is not ready to play and start the game but he’ll be on the bench on Saturday.”
“If he’s going to play, he has to gain the trust of not just me but of our players that he’s the real deal. We’ve given him a fitness programme because, in the last few games he played for us, he didn’t play very well by his own admission. His confidence is a little low and his fitness was a bit low for whatever reason.”
Ben Arfa has always been difficult to manage throughout his career and it would appear he needs plenty of both carrot and stick to get the best out of him.
What I can’t understand is how he was allowed to get in such a poor state fitness wise. So much is made these days of how the players are monitored in training every day, weight checked, fitness monitored and so on – so why wasn’t it stamped down on earlier and the player told he had to stay in line or be left out of the team and/or fined?
If it had been nipped in the bud then we may have avoided this nightmare scenario where we end up with a team that has no goals or creativity in the absence of Remy and Cabaye, yet the most talented player at the club ends up being unavailable simply through both his own and the club’s inadequacies.
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]