It would appear that the Newcastle United manager, Alan Pardew, either knows a thing or two about man management, or got lucky, when he decided to criticise Hatem Ben Arfa the other day – something that we here at NUFC Daily were extremely unhappy about. However, it seems that Pardew knows how to handle the talented French star, as demonstrated by his man of the match performance where he scored one goal, was instrumental in the other goal and was a general thorn in the side of the Aston Villa defence for the full 90 minutes.
This is what Pardew had to say in his post match interview to Sky Sports,
“His performance today was unplayable. He was on fire. He has the ability to hold onto the ball and explode past two or three players. This is what the supporters pay to watch.
“His concentration today was spot on and if he gets that consistency he’ll be a real threat for us and France.”
Today we were very reliant on Hatem Ben Arfa though. Following an impressive team display in the first half, we seemed to retreat into ourselves in the second half. Our tactics in the 2nd half seemed devoid of any other plan other than “get it to Hatem” and sustainable success needs to be built on stronger foundations than that.
That isn’t to say that his display wasn’t fantastic, because it most certainly was. We just need to see more match-winning displays from all, or most, of our key players.
Hatem Ben Arfa is laying down the gauntlet and is stepping up to the plate. It is time for others to follow suit.