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Ben Arfa holds key for Pardew

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is expecting Hatem Ben Arfa to play a crucial role for the Magpies this season.

Last Updated: 19/08/13 at 19:41 Post Comment

Hatem Ben Arfa: Expected to play a key role for Newcastle

Hatem Ben Arfa: Expected to play a key role for Newcastle

The French midfielder is in contention to start for Newcastle in their Premier League opener at Manchester City on Monday night after coming through a careful pre-season programme unscathed.

Ben Arfa's long series of injury problems began at City in October 2010 when he suffered an horrendous double leg-break in a challenge from Nigel De Jong.

And there was further frustration for the 26-year-old last season when his starts were severely restricted by a nagging hamstring complaint.

Pardew said: "Hatem is a player you need to be very careful with because of the injuries he has had, and we've nursed him through the pre-season and geared him up for the start.

"We're hoping if we can get a full season out of him then it will go hand in hand and our season will be a success."

Pardew is also looking forward to seeing Moussa Sissoko in action again after the midfielder made a major impression following his January move from Toulouse.

"It's a big season for Moussa," added Pardew. "His initial impact was fantastic and then he got a little injury but this year he's trained very well and we're hoping to have a big season from him.

"I think you can look at him and say he has all the tools to be a fantastic central midfield player. He has tremendous power and physique as well as sound technique.

"I put him in the same bracket as players like (Cheick) Tiote and (Yohan) Cabaye, and say our midfield is an area where we are very strong."

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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