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Ben Arfa ruled out for season

Newcastle midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa has been ruled out for the rest of the season as he requires surgery on a hamstring problem.

Last Updated: 15/03/13 at 16:28 Post Comment

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The Frenchman returned to action in the first leg of United's Europa League last-16 tie with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala after 12 weeks out.

But Ben Arfa lasted only 64 minutes of that game and missed the second leg clash at St James' Park on Thursday night, where Newcastle progressed to face Benfica in the quarter-finals after a last-gasp Papiss Cisse goal gave them a 1-0 win over Anzhi.

Ben Arfa is not expected back until pre-season training for the 2013/14 campaign, with Newcastle manager Alan Pardew confirming he will not be rushed back sooner, even if they qualify for the Europa League final.

"It's a shame for Hatem because we went down this process of not operating on it, and I think now that's an option that we might need to take," said Pardew.

"But we can't now put him at risk. Even if it was to get to a Europa League final, I don't think that's going to be the case.

"We need to look to next year for him and just go forward together knowing we haven't got him on board."

Pardew admitted they miss the quality he offers but insists they have a strong enough squad to cope without him.

"He gives us that X-factor. In a game like last night's where he could open the door for us, we haven't got that luxury," added Pardew.

"Unfortunately for Hatem, that's the news that he didn't want to hear.

"But as far as we are concerned, the team has responded well in his absence and hopefully, we do that until the end of the year."

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nd we always will love Ozil. I don't really mind if no other team can see just how brilliant he is, or if people think he is rubbish, because we know he is far from it. He is a fantastic player, and if people cannot see that it can only be a good thing, in that he will be at Arsenal for years to come, pulling the strings from behind a glass veil.

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like the list and Ozil in particular does seem under appreciated when you look at his stats (an odd thing considering his fee or maybe because of it). Palace have a few and I've always thought Dwight Gayle at Palace was under rated, certainly when you look at his goals per game ratio. You can probably also add Ryan Bertrand at Saints who should be in the England team in my view.

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ew Shaun Wright Phillips, there I've said it. If any club offers stupid money we'd be stupid to say no, he's not a potential worldie by any stretch and I feel that after a few years warming the bench at city or Chelsea he'll be back at QPR smoking sheesha pipes under Harry Redknapp.

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