Who Or What Is To Blame For Hatem Ben Arfa's Problems At Newcastle?

Just why did Hatem Ben Arfa become so out of favour last season?

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. An exasperating paradox. A flawed genius. There is no definitive way to illustrate the talent and temperament contained within Hatem Ben Arfa. Newcastle supporters have been left to pick the bones from a rumour indicating the 27-year-old is to beat a hasty retreat to the Middle East to play in Qatar in a clear sign that his enthusiasm for the game is precariously close to eroding completely. Ben Arfa's career at St James' Park has nosedived in the last six months amid bitter rows with Alan Pardew, with whom he once shared a close relationship, as tempers boiled over towards the end of the season. His laissez-faire attitude to improving his physical conditioning and lack of mental discipline proved a source of irritation to Pardew and his team-mates, reaching an inevitable crescendo that ended with the enigmatic Frenchman being exiled to train with the Magpies reserve squad. Truthfully, there are a myriad of reasons to decode the conundrum Ben Arfa has frequently posed in four chaotic years in a black and white shirt. There is no denying that talent of his ilk doesn't come along very often and, for the most part, Ben Arfa had been adroitly managed by Pardew up until they crossed swords in early 2014. At a time when Newcastle were crying out for a creative hub in the wake of Yohan Cabaye's departure it should have been the France international who was assigned fill the playmaker chasm Pardew sought so desperately to plug. Instead he was continually stationed out on the right-flank as an inverted-winger with a remit to track back into an area of the field where his impact is severely diminished and his skill-set didn't suit. To my mind that was Pardew trying to prove a point more than anything. Unfortunately it was a counter-productive ploy that ultimately backfired on Pardew. It was clear he still didn't grasp the key to unlocking Ben Arfa was to designate him a singular focus and strip back his responsibilities in order for him to thrive. He€™s an attacking virtuoso so play to his strengths. How is that hard to comprehend? Love him and he will repay you in kind as we found out to our pleasure in 2011/12. We've said our piece and now it's time to give us your thoughts. What do you think has been the biggest contributing factor in Ben Arfa's alarming decline at Newcastle? Cast your vote and comment below!
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Content writer, blogger, occasional journalist and lifetime inhabitant of the post-LOST island of grief.