10 Talented Newcastle Players Who Were Well And Truly Pardewed
9. Hatem Ben Arfa
The same system change that stopped Demab Ba from scoring, and helped Papiss Cisse have such an explosive start to his Newcastle career also took the reins off Hatem Ben Arfa and allowed him to put in the kind of attacking performances that made him an instant hero with Newcastle fans. On the right side of the front three, and not asked to defend (a grotesque suggestion for someone so gifted going forward), Ben Arfa flourished, and while Cisse's goals were important, they wouldn't all have happened if it wasn't for the progressive play of Ben Arfa. But then because he'd already p*ssed Demba Ba off once, Pardew followed up his unwarranted fifth place finish and Manager Of The Year award by completely changing the system and Ben Arfa's role in particular, and then castigated him publicly for not tracking back or playing for the team. He quickly ignored the fact that Ben Arfa had been a sensation the season before in a system that suited him, and rather than shaping his team around the talents he had, he built a new system that valued industry and was set up to favour Demba Ba (who already had one foot out of the door anyway), and then made Ben Arfa his scapegoat when things started to go wrong. The rest, as they say is history, and somehow Pardew remains at the club while Ben Arfa listens to Steve Bruce's attacking football philosophies down at Hull.