Hatem Ben Arfa More Effective At Moment Than Remy Cabella The Uncomfortable Truth?
Alan Pardew and others at Newcastle United have done an effective character assassination on Hatem Ben Arfa, brainwashing many fans in the process.
Ben Arfa of course is no Lionel Messi, neither though is he any hopeless layabout who only bothered himself once or twice a season.
Real flair players need to be given the platform to show their talents and Alan Pardew was keen to highlight this before the Villa match, claiming that he had indeed provided this and now it was up to Newcastle’s new flair players to show what they could do.
Well sadly that didn’t amount to very much.
One problem is that Newcastle’s flair options are now basically limited to Remy Cabella, something that Villa weren’t going to be clueless about and predictably they gave the Frenchman close attention, including putting him on his backside a number of times. Maybe you think De Jong will add to the flair in the team but personally I see him as somebody who more gets on the end of things, which allowed him to score so many goals in Holland.
It is dangerous in the extreme for Pardew and Newcastle to have put so much responsibility and expectation on Remy Cabella so soon. Sad truth is that if he hadn’t been thrown straight in then who would have carried those creative hopes…Obertan?!!!
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Look on the bench yesterday and what did we have? Perez, Abeid, Squidward, Steven Taylor, Haidara and the aforementioned other new boy, De Jong.
Pardew is so trapped in this mindset of the most (only) important thing for all players being that they are workers. This though ignores the fact that there are other ways of showing how hard work rather than simply how many times you run back towards your own goal. Anybody who has played football at any level surely knows that the most tiring thing is attempting to dribble past the opposing player(s), it is of course also something that takes guts, rather than always taking the simple option of a ten yard pass – something which we have far too many players who are specialists in that particular talent.
When you have such a workmanlike team as Newcastle now do, and had last season, you need exceptional talent to make the difference.
Yohan Cabaye did that, while a quality forward like Remy made average unlikely chances into great goals on a regular basis.
The other person of course last season, fleetingly, was Hatem Ben Arfa.
Last year Ben Arfa was man of the match in three of only thirteen Premier League matches (according to respected independent website whoscored.com) he started for Newcastle, that was man of the match out of everybody on the pitch – not just Newcastle’s players.
Two of those man of the match awards coming in the first four league matches of the 2013/14 campaign, a dismal home match against Fulham only lit up by his performance and cracking winning goal, followed by a masterful display at Villa Park when he tortured the opposition, scoring one goal and making the other in a 2-1 win.
Hatem undoubtedly has his faults but like almost every flair player he has his highs and lows, that is reality. It’s a bit different to players where the only expectation is that they repeatedly pass the ball ten yards sideways and backwards to the nearest teammate.
If you are going to fill your midfield/attack with players such as Anita, Colback, Gouffran, Riviere, Sissoko, Tiote and so on, then you need player(s) capable of creating exceptional moments.
It isn’t taking a risk, it is essential.
Cabella needs time to grow and ease himself gradually into the Premier League without the full weight of expectation on his head. The real answer for many of us is that both Ben Arfa and Cabella should be on the pitch to give the opposition a lot more to think about – however the chances of two such creative players appearing in the same Pardew team is ‘slightly’ unlikely.
I have zero faith in Mike Ashley paying out on bringing somebody of that ilk in during the next eight days of the transfer window, so Hatem Ben Arfa must be rehabilitated double quick and parachuted back into the team.
If not we face many more frustrating afternoons of the team looking decent until they reach that last third of the pitch.
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