Benny’s return delayed further, but he’ll have to earn his place too

Posted on March 1st, 2011 | 27 Comments |

Hatem Ben Arfa's comeback delayed at Newcastle United
Laughing gas but no lauging matter
Newcastle United midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is reported to be suffering another delay in his recovery.

A few days ago Alan Pardew was hopeful that Ben Arfa would be back for the Wolves game on the 2nd April, but it’s now looking like it could be closer to the end of the season before he’s fit enough to play if indeed he plays again at all this season.

Pardew said:

He has set himself a personal target, but he is still in the process of recovery

To break both bones in his shin is tough, not just physically but mentally. He’s got a long road back. Whether he comes back into the first team at the level where we are at the moment, we’ll have to see.

Certainly next year he will be a big player for us.

But his recovery will take us into April, maybe May.

Reading between the lines (“Certainly next year …” etc.), I think we’ll be lucky to see Ben Arfa on the pitch again this season. Still, who knows eh? He might be lucky and get a game or two in May.

It’s a shame because, although we didn’t see too much of him before Nigel de Jong clattered him, he does look like the sort of player who can change games.

Mind you, Pardew has warned that he not only has to be fully recovered but he’ll also have to earn his place back. Pardew said:

I thought Leon Best was the best player on the pitch [on Saturday], so he has competition.

I can’t just say ‘he’s great player, give him a chance’.

I’d like to see him play this year but I am going to protect him.

He needs to get some training under his belt and games.

I remember when Ian Wright broke his leg twice at Crystal Palace. When that first tackle happens and you come through that it gives you the confidence that you’re strong enough. Until then you have nagging doubts it isn’t as strong.

Interesting, though, that Pardew seems to see Ben Arfa as competition for Best’s place rather than one of the wingers or elsewhere in the midfield.

Either way, let’s hope Ben Arfa is fit again soon.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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27 Responses

  1. Oh yeah Best is great but I bet frigging Shola walks straight back in to the line up.

  2. Morning Charlie. Not sure Shola will walk straight back in actually – I think Best has genuinely impressed Pardew.

    I do find it interesting that it’s Best’s role that Pardew sees Benny as competing for though.

  3. Good to know Pardew considering playing Benny in the hole rather than in the wing. After all, Benny’s desire in playing in the mid of park was a big factor for him to decide signing for us if the presses were to be believed.

    He will be a big player for us next season, that’s for sure. It is now just after to Pardew to sign whoever he thinks that could work well with Benny as the funds should be there(or the board will face another fan unrest?)

    Personally, I would like to see someone with a bit of skills and processes good movement on and of the ball as I think this will work best with Benny and the Amigos.

  4. By the way, it’s also nice seeing Pardew taking Best as the best player on the field. I remember CH been criticised by some for signing Best and Perch.
    Hope Perch will come good just like Best has.

  5. @Widowmaker. Best was injured at the beginning of the season and only got fit halfway thru somewhere (west ham game his first start i think). As for Perch he had a lot of chances beginning of the season and failed to take it with everyone else injured. He looked like he didnt have what it took to play premiership level and defend against premiership strikers. But then again i might be proven wrong in the future if he does step up.

  6. so thoughts lads about what type of striker we should bring in a short quick striker lots of pace to burn or a tall physical tough as nails or both!

  7. well best doing good with the headers has a bit of pace about him puts in a shift cant doubt that loverkrands also has pace to burn but he isnt getting any younger and ranger is our wonder sub without a goal yet so i guess if we bring in one of either options would be good

  8. @nufc33…it all depends on how Pardew wants to play actually and where he see’s Ben Affleck playing. Like Hugh i also think we need each of both so we can vary out gameplay when it’s required.
    Although if Ranger improves he can be the tall quick striker running at defenders dribling n scaring the shit out of them. If that happens then we just need to get Drogba when he was 27 :)

    Bear in mind though some of the best goalscorers were in neither category….like Rudd Van Nistelroy for example.

  9. As I said, I think he sees Benny playing up front (or in the hole), in which case we’d probably be after a tall, physical guy.

    Although, as Joe says, there’s no need to categorise strikers like that and simply a ‘quality striker’ might be what we need.

  10. Does this mean we’ll finally switch to a 4-2-3-1?

    Simpson-Taylor-Colo-Jose Enrique
    Barton-Ben Arfa-Gosling

    pretty strong start to next year, and if we can get Gervinho or whickham in we’d be flying

  11. Dunno Ian, do you think Pardew has a particular preference for a 4-4-2 or is it just that he feels it’s the most productive formation right now?

  12. Or…or….or we could end up “missing” out on last minute buys, instead buying “future” stars n just stick with Shola, Best, Loverman and Ranger for next season. That would be incredibely stupid but cant put it beyond the fatman.

  13. Well Pardew pretty much just walked into the squad and kept doing what Hughton was doing since it was for the most part working.

    I would just like to see us using our (finally) wealth of midfield talent. Back 4 the same, Tiote to destroy, Nolan to be a box-to-box guy like what he is now, and an attacking midfield of Barton, Ben Arfa and Gosling pumping balls into any striker of Shola’s caliber or better would be like the return of the Entertainers.

    Even a 4-4-1-1, who cares, just give Ben Arfa free range, and a build an attacking side around that.

  14. The combination of talent leads to some very interesting tactical matchups.

    Imagine a 3-5-2 with Willo Coloccini and Taylor, Coloccini and Taylor could take turns bombing up the field in support of Simpson/Jonas and Jose Enrique at Wing Back.

    Never gonna happen though, probably run out at 4-4-2 for the next 5 years

  15. Ian… you will have to take out enrqiue and barton out that team for defo as they will not even be there. Also if we want to buy any players we will have to sell first of course.

  16. @Craig….enrique and barton “defo” out of the team next year?? Not so sure about that unless of course you heard it from Ashley’s wife’s cousin’s hairdresser’s neigbour’s kid?

    Sure you have an explanation as to why it’s definate.

  17. yes mate…they are fed up of ashley and his hot air. sometimes when al lthe signs are there you have to admit its a done deal. Enrique’s case is very straight forward tbh, as he has direct quotesthat can not be denied and even though he and pards tried to come out and clarify the situation, they could not say he had not said the words. Pardew merely said jose refusesto discuss any new contract until we are safe for next season. Well, thats a load of pap in istself cos we are very close to safe now and there was no reason why if this was the case jose could not have agreed terms ‘to be signed once safe’ and then put it to bed. To simply refuse to even talk about it is far more worrying. Then coupled with the simple truth that he did say’ newcastle are ok but i aspire for more’ and’ too may broken promises’ and he ‘wants to play champions league’ and all the otherthings he has said including that he woudl like to play for liverpool is a clear indication that the guy is ready to move onto a club with on field ambition.
    Barton may sign on at the end of the season although i very much doubt it now, as he also said his deal was all in palce and was due to be signed, then Carroll left and for some reason they are now a million miles appart nad have reached an impasse that we all know ashley will not bow down to. Ashely is pig headed more than anyone and of course barton will want a decent length contract for his last major one. BArton is only 28, not 29 til sept and to offer a two year extension to our best player which only takes him to 31.5 years old is silly. Newcaslte accepted an offer from chelski for tiote and it was tiote that refussed to go, thank god, otherwise he would have gone in the window too. We have to face facts, we are a selling club under ashley. I would be happy singing no-one at all in the summer and keeping what we have.. it aint going to happen though is it.

  18. @Craig…you have a point there about Enrique. I also think he wants to go unless something changes his mind in a big way (big pay hike and we qualify for europe and good signings come in).

    As for Barton I think he will sign. Namely cause of lack of options for him. Whatever we offer him will be better than anything anyone else is willing.

    A gut feeling though is that Enrique will stay. Nothing to back that up mind you.

  19. I won’t believe either are out until the club reports it. half the gossip here is made up and the quotes are butchered, and thats from the english players. I’m glad Jose Enrique said what he said. He aspires to more. That’s the player we need at Newcastle. We didn’t have that when we got relegated. They were comfortable finishing in the bottom half and collecting their wages. We need more Enrique’s who are hungry for success. He should aspire to more. And we should show our commitment to them. End of.

  20. IAn, i totally agree with you. there is one massive glaring problem though… ahsley does not aspire to more. jose woudl stay for sure, he loves nufc and the fans. Its simple and plain he has had enough of an ashely’s lack of on field ambition and asset stripping. I hope he stays, really i do, but Ian you have answered your own questions in what you have said… he aspires to morethan newcastle. Joes exact words, NOT taken out of context or lost in translastion… how can it be lost in translation, what a load of waffle, he is onyl speaking spanish ffs, not martian!
    Hugn, i think that perhaps we may hang onto barton, that would be great if we could. Jose is a goner though, i doubt we will be able to get van arnholt from cheski though as he is coles number 1 back up now, so ZERO chance as unliek us, cheski dont sell players to make money even at the expence of leaving us without cover. Oliver Bernard anyone!!

  21. Aspiring to more than 9th place and being at Newcastle don’t have to be completely unrelated. Now, in 4 months when the summer transfer season opens up I may have changed my tune if Ashley pockets the 35mill, but as of now we’d have to think Jose will see out his contract and it’s just a public plea, like barton, nolan, and jonas all asking for investment. who knows what goes on in these guys heads.

  22. personnaly hope that HBA doesn’t play this season. He needs time to get put back together and then have a good long period of training before De Mong can have another crack at him.

  23. “Reading between the lines”

    You could always ask a doctor, and / or look at similar injuries, Hugh. ;-)

    It was always unfeasible for Ben Arfa to come back when Pardew said he was originally.