There’s no disputing that the team spirit at Newcastle United right now is absolutely fantastic. Since Alan Pardew has come in, and to be fair this was started by Chris Hughton as well beforehand, there’s been a really good feeling within the squad. The players that have come in including the likes of Demba Ba and Yohan Cabaye have bedded in straight away, and now the former is even helping January signing and compatriot Papiss Cisse to settle in instantly and feel at home.
In fact, Demba Ba has been a great signing for Newcastle on and off the pitch. Obviously he’s scored a vast amount of goals for the Magpies this season, but off it he seems like a really down to earth guy and hopefully him and Cisse will strike up a really good partnership up top, which already seems to be happening – fingers crossed. Ba is seemingly also good friends with Frenchman Hatem Ben Arfa.
If there was one Newcastle player who would be a bit peeved off right now it’s Ben Arfa. The mercurial Frenchman can’t force his way into the starting eleven and a player of his quality will never be happy sitting on the bench for large periods. I actually think one of Pardew’s biggest challenges is to get the best out of Ben Arfa on the pitch, but at least Ba is helping to keep the 24-year-old’s spirits up off it.
While you don’t have to be friends to play together, it does help. Demba Ba and Hatem Ben Arfa have been socialising away from football and playing a few hands of poker. This is what Ba Tweeted last week: “I’m not good at poker, but there is ar least 3 person worst than me. My agent, my brother and and……… HATEM haha.” This shows Demba’s sense of humour and also that Ben Arfa needs to get a bit more practice in on the table!
Here’s the image that Ba posted of himself playing poker with Ben Arfa (on the left) who has a wry smile on his face as Demba is staring him down…