Ben Arfa Is Being Totally Wasted (See Shocking Stats)

Hatem Ben Arfa is arguably the most skillful player in the Premier League. We all watch the big boys with their Hazards, Cazorlas and Silvas but as good as these players are, they don't have that edge our Benny has. I have never seen someone beat so many players with ease in all my life. Lionel Messi is the only player I can honestly say is better than Ben Arfa at all out dribbling. Only because he get's a lot more goals and assists at the end of it. Whereas Benny seems to beat people for fun, just because he can. So considering we have this player playing for our football club ahead of the 'bigger' boys, the fact he is being wasted is an absolute crime.

Think about this very simply. If Ben Arfa played for Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester City, would they play him in a 4-4-2 formation asking him to track back as much as possible to cover the full back? Would they hell. Why? Because it would be a total waste of his talents and would drag him back into areas he just shouldn't be in. With a player as skillful as Ben Arfa you need him in the final third at all times. Whether you have the ball or not.

The reason I use the 3 teams I have is because they have their own 'Ben Arfa' to speak of. Chelsea have Hazard/Mata (take your pick), Arsenal have Cazorla and Citeh have David Silva. These players play in a very specific place for these teams. In the hole 'Number 10' role or as an inside forward cutting in from the flank driving at goal. Within a formation of either 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. This is the modern way. This system is that of the 21st century. Any other isn't even contemplated given the way these teams want to play and the players they have in their squads. And rightly so. Can you ever imagine Chelsea playing a flat 4-4-2 with Hazard on the wing spending half of his time chasing back to cover his full back? The thought is laughable. If a manager at Chelsea even tried this he would be up for the sack immediately. The same can be said for Arsenal and Man City. Although Man City like 2 strikers on the pitch, it is far from a flat narrow 4-4-2. They always make room for Silva whenever he is available. These players are the difference makers and NUFC have one of the best in Europe.

Premier League Player Statistics

1Hatem Ben ArfaNewcastle UnitedAM(CLR)11222.
2Luis SuárezLiverpoolAM(CL),FW11825.
3Raheem SterlingLiverpoolAM(L)101-
4Adel TaarabtQueens Park Ran...AM(CL)6(1)2-
5Samba DiakitéQueens Park Ran...D(R),DM(C)6(1)--
6Davide SantonNewcastle UnitedD(LR)11--0.412.
8Santiago CazorlaArsenalM(CLR)11323.53.421.9-
9Eden HazardChelseaAM(CLR)11252.
10Mohamed DiaméWest HamDM(C)111-

(Ben Arfa has the most successful dribbles in the Premier League by some distance with 4.9. He has actually dribbled past 54 players in total, which is 18 more than his closest rival in Suarez.)

So with this in mind, why does Alan Pardew do it here at Newcastle? Why? What possible reason could he have to waste a player like Ben Arfa by playing him in a flat 4-4-2 which requires him to a) cover his full back, b) drop far too deep to receive the ball and c) spend most of his time tied to the wing. It's ridiculous. The only reason a manager would do this is if he just didn't have the squad to play any other way but 4-4-2. Alan Pardew is not in this position. Not only does he have Ben Arfa but he has Yohan Cabaye. A creative midfielder who also likes to put his foot in. He has Cheik Tiote. A midfield rock who makes most supposedly defensive midfielders look like fairies. He has Demba Ba. A striker who is capable of playing up front on his own or as an inside forward on the left who drives at goal. He has Papiss Cisse. A centre forward who thrives off being alone up front to make his runs and score unbelievable goals. Alan Pardew has the squad to match any of the bigger boys in terms of formation, tactics and strategy, so why doesn't he do it? What's he so afraid of? I have asked the question of whether Alan Pardew is a little bit out of his depth at our football club at its present status as a European club? Is-Pardew-out-of-his-depth? So far this season I am seeing nothing to suggest otherwise.

                    (Remember This Alan?)

What is baffling about our season so far is that for a stage last season the LMA manager of the year Alan Pardew seemed to have cracked it. We all sat back after destroying West Brom in 20 mins on a Super Sunday back in March in amazement. Pardew introduced a system of 4-3-3 that got the best out of every single attacking player in the team without harming our defence. It was perfect. He carried this on into the next two games where we beat Swansea and Liverpool easily, both with clean sheets. This new formation helped us go on a 6 game winning streak as we seriously pushed for a Champions League spot. But then something changed. Something happened that made Pardew ditch this system and go back to 4-4-2. Since we beat Stoke City 3-0 with ease at home on the 21st April, not once has Newcastle United started a game with the same line-up man for man, position for position. With no official explanation whatsoever. I don't know what the local journalists have been doing since then but has any of them actually asked Pardew why he has done this? I don't see any answers anywhere. I mean how useless are they? We want answers as we are a shadow of the side we once were. It's unacceptable.

(This is Ben Arfa's hotspot areas of where he took on an opponent. Hardly any are in the final third)

In order for us to compete with the bigger boys in this division we need to at least start thinking like them. We need to at least start playing like them. In my opinion we have better players in specific positions then they do, so not only could we compete with them in my eyes, we could beat them. Is Jon Obi Mikel better than Cheik Tiote? Is Oliver Giroud better than Demba Ba? Is Samir Nasri better than Yohan Cabaye? Not in my eyes. Plus the exciting difference maker players that we love to watch play the game in Eden Hazard, Santi Cazorla and David Silva. Are they better than Hatem Ben Arfa? Can they dribble like him? Can they take out 3/4 players at a go like him? Can they smash one in the top corner with either foot from 25 yards like him? I don't think so. I wouldn't swap Ben Arfa for any of them. It's also been announced that Benny's goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup is nominated for the FIFA Puskas Goal Of The Year Award, alongside Messi and Neymar. No surprises there. It's got my vote and you can vote for it yourself here: Puskas Award Nominees

If you just watch the skills versus West Ham below, it's another incredible example of Ben Arfa's quality. How many players in the world have the ability to ghost past players like him? It's a rare quality that needs to be maximised. However, also note how deep his is on the pitch at times. He's fighting a losing battle. You never see the bigger boys 'Number 10' this far back. We need to get him in the final third a lot more. At present his untouchable genius is being totally wasted. Observe.

We have the players. We have the squad. We have the 'ace in the hole' in Hatem Ben Arfa. We had the manager last season and we need him back. Where has the Premier League manager of the year gone? A ship no matter how impressive, is still doomed without a competent captain.

Follow me on Twitter @ToonBano


  1. I blame Pardew's willingness to insist playing Gutierrez every game. I admire his tremendous work-rate but he loses the ball for us way to many times for us to mount any serious threat going forward. If we cut out the long hopeful kicks forward and extreme loss of possession in the middle of the park we will see the 4-3-3 formation again, until then we will have to wait for Alan Pardew to realize that Gutierrez is our worst passer in the team and costs us dearly.

    1. Well Jonas is out for a few weeks so we'll see what we're like without him. Hopefully this will force Pardew's hand in going back to 4-3-3.

      But let's not hold our breath.

  2. You're spot on mate. Pardew is pandering to Demba's desire to play up front, when the team was more effective with him playing on the left. I wouldn't necessarily move Demba out of the middle on current form, I'd drop Cisse and give Ferguson a run there. Pardew needs to get a grip, and soon!

    1. I've no problem with Demba taking up the centre forward role. I'd also stick Benny in the hole with Sammy on the right. Cabaye just isn't in that much form at the minute.

      Whatever the lineup, the system has to be set in stone and never change no matter what. It's a must.

  3. Toon bano

    Spot on as ever. Wish you'd get yourself on to more as
    you are just echoing my sentiments totally.

    Benny and Cabs are now our tevez and Mascherano but Pardew thought going long ball to Harewood and kicking people with mullins was a better way to go.

    The tragedy is that Pardew stumbled on to the 433 blueprint by mistake at the time raylor got injured and he was forced to play benny in a 433 and the rest was history as they say, but he has just kicked that in to the long grass.

    He could still keep Ba in a central position and bench / alternate with Cisse but not play them together in a 442. Everyone can surely see that after a third of the season played.

    Last season we did well in spite of pardew not because of him, but I think his shortcomings as a long ball 442 stereotypical English style manager have been well and truly found out. Why else would he want carroll back?

    1. You make a couple of good points about tevez and Mascherano. Pardew couldn't handle their ego. It got his sacked in the end as he refused to get the best of them and his team overall. You would think he would have learned from that experience. He has one good season with West Ham, couldn't handle a higher status and expectations, got sacked.

      Him being an English manager is another good point. Would a continental manager even contemplate playing this way with the squad we have? He would be mortified to do so. What's Laurent Blanc doing these days...? ; D

    2. Also, send some of those lads over here as much as you can.

      It's appreciated. ; D

  4. Toon Bano you've only just realised this or just couldnt be arsed to write it ?

    Pardwho has a reluctance to move away from 4-4-2 as it's all he knows. He wasnt brought up on style, quality and flair his CV is all about grafting, funnelling back and covering. Quite why he and HBA even see eye to eye is a puzzle in itself ?

    IMHO there's a simple solution, either Pardwho rids himself of the shackles of containment and sterile football and commits to a modern flexible format which allows for movement and options for the man on the ball or we watch as teams pass us by and we wait for his removal in eight years time :(

    1. Haha. You mean about wasting Benny? No I have known this for a long time and have only put it down on paper seeing as it's been over 10 games now and I have a few stats to show what I already know. Always helps. ; D

      If you mean have I only realised this about Pardew, then definitely not. Just have a look around my blog archive, won't take you long.

      Aye, the 8 years contract was madness at the plain out scares me now.

    2. BTW did you read my email TB ?