The Importance of Hatem Ben Arfa

 Originally a forum thread by TJR

It’s even more noticeable when he’s not there. I know he was there today but he might as well not have been. It’s as if he wasn’t there. I’d say last week was one of the best performances of his career and this week was by far the worst of his career.

As far as this current Newcastle United set up is concerned Hatem Ben Arfa is the most important man in the world. Our entire game plan and our entire season seemingly relies on him being in great form or him producing a moment of magic.

Ben Arfa’s recent form according to TFI

If it wasn’t for Ben Arfa we’d be on only 2 points from 5 games, instead we are on 7. He produced a moment of magic against Fulham in a game that looked certain to finish goalless. He scored one and created one in the win at Villa which otherwise would have finished as a defeat. Even in the cup at Morecambe we were looking hopeless until he came on and created 2 goals to secure the 2-0 win. Today he was poor we didn’t win, against West Ham and against Man City he wasn’t on form and we didn’t win those either.

It’s extremely worrying that our entire team collapses and rolls over when Ben Arfa isn’t on form. Last season Pardew came in for a lot of criticism mainly for not having a clue and more often than not setting the team up without an acceptable game plan. This season he’s tried to chance things. That’s evident from the fact we are trying to get it down and pass more rather than try long balls. Ultimately under the surface nothing has changed. Pardew’s only idea of a game plan still is the, pass to Ben Arfa and hope he produces some magic, tactic. To be honest Ben Arfa has done incredibly well for having to carry the entire team. Today he didn’t, however, he was shocking. But on the whole he has carried the team well.

I’m sorry but that just isn’t a game plan that’s acceptable in the Premier League or any professional league for that matter. Pardew’s game plan and tactics have to be questioned. When the hope Ben Arfa produces some magic plan doesn’t work last season we were aimlessly playing long balls often to no one. This season we are aimlessly passing it about, again often to no one in a black and white shirt. It’s beyond belief how on earth a Premier League team can play like we have last season and this season (other than Ben Arfa’s magic moments) and not do anything in terms of changing the personnel on the pitch or off it. Something needs to change and unless it does we’ll have another relegation dog fight that goes down to the wire.

For now we just have to hope Ben Arfa picks up his form from last week and not this week for our next game and beyond because under Alan Pardew hoping Ben Arfa produces magic is our only plan. Hatem Ben Arfa is the most important man in the world for us right now.

Do you think we’re too reliant on Hatem Ben Arfa? Have your say in the discussion thread found here.