Tuesday was a great night for Newcastle. Not only did they make it through to the 4th Round of the Carling Cup thanks to an entertaining 4-3 victory against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground, but arguably more importantly it also saw the return to action of Hatem Ben Arfa. It was great to see the Frenchman back in action for Newcastle, but how long will we have to wait to see him playing in the Premier League? Could it be as soon as tomorrow against Blackburn Rovers at St James’ Park?
Understandably, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has urged patience in regards to Ben Arfa, which is very sensible considering how the midfielder has been ruled out for.
Pardew said “Now it is a matter of when he is ready. He shows flashes of brilliance in training, but I want him to do it more often in training before I bring him in. Realistically, he knows he has got more to do on the training ground. He smiles at me as if to say, ‘OK, I will play next week.’ He has character and there are times in the coming weeks when if he has not made a start he will be kicking my door down.”
So if Pardew is to be believed, then it doesn’t look as though he’ll get a start against Blackburn. In a previous article I said that I think the St James’ Park faithful will have to wait until the match against Tottenham in October to see the Frenchman. Ben Arfa, though has other ideas and has said: “Am I ready? I would, of course, love to play some part on Saturday. I am ready.” Players are always champing at the bit and Ben Arfa will be more desperate than anyone to play.