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Utilising Hatem Ben Arfa

7 years ago

So far this summer there have been no bids for Hatem Ben Arfa and this can only be a good thing in my opinion.

It is my belief that he is a wonderful talent and if he was deployed correctly, he could be as effective as any other creative player in the Premier League.

I think I may have thought up a way of using him that even Alan Partridge, sorry Pardew, could see the sense in. Many people argue that due to his lack of defensive focus HBA lets himself down. If pushed, I could probably name a hundred wingers that don’t cover their full back. But I won’t bore you all with that.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the transfer activity so far this summer but that doesn’t mean I’d be happy to see Hatem go. So what do we do with him? We play him against the weaker teams in the league.

With a creative three of De Jong, Cabella and Ben Arfa behind a gifted goalscorer (Remy ideally but unlikely) we would be a dangerous attacking force. Steady Alan, don’t panic. Pardew seems to think attacking is something you save for opposition players and linesman. But surely he could see the sense in having a flexible attacking three that can swap and change and give the defenders all sorts of problems. All three are capable of grabbing a goal too. Sissoko and Tiote can be the workaholics behind these three that cover the full backs and break down opposition attacks.

Then against the better teams, Ben Arfa could drop to the bench for a Colback, Anita or Bigirimana (if Alan knows who he is). This would provide a more solid midfield unit. However, HBA wouldn’t have to sit out the entirety of these games. Oh no, he could be used as an impact player. He’s a footballer that scares opponents. They double up on him, treble up on him. They throw everything at Hatem to stop him. Regardless of whether he plays against the ‘big’ clubs. I do think as a bare minimum he should be starting against the Stokes and Leicesters of the league.

Having someone like Ben Arfa against the smaller clubs is a bit like digging through the bins outside Hogwarts. You’re bound to find some magic eventually.

A lot of people claim he’s hit and miss. Anyone who watched the Fulham, Palace, Stoke or Villa wins last season will know that when he’s a hit he’s ‘Gangnam Style’. Play him against anyone outside the top six and they’ll be frightened of him. He can run an entire game when he’s on form.

Why let him go for next to nothing when he wants to stay? If not he’ll end up tearing it up at somewhere like West Ham. I don’t think anyone wants to see Ben Arfa versus Santon next season.

You can follow Billy on Twitter @billymerlin


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