Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Has Issued Challenge to Hatem; Pardew's Challenge to French Favourite

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pardew Has Issued Challenge to Hatem; Pardew's Challenge to French Favourite

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Douglas Chief Sports Writer

HATEM Ben Arfa has been challenged to add more consistency to his game as Alan Pardew wrestles with the dilemma of dropping Newcastle United's creator-inchief.

Ben Arfa's performance at Everton has prompted some searching questions among the United coaching staff, who are considering bringing Paul Dummett and Mike Williamson into the starting XI for the crucial trip to Cardiff.

Pardew has called for a "solid performance" from his team after candidly admitting that they are no more than mid-table fare on current form.

However, he has taken succour from the second-half display at Everton, which the United manager feels could be the turning point in his Newcastle side's campaign.

The team need to pick up where they left off in that second half recovery, which was achieved without Ben Arfa after Pardew substituted him at half-time.

Pardew admits that he is looking for improvement from the France forward, but offered him hope that he may have a role to play in South Wales by calling him a "proven performer" for the Magpies.

"I think he's one of those players that we're looking at for consistency and to get consistency from him," Pardew said.

"We've got a great player, no doubt about that. Consistency is all I'm looking for from any player.

He's proved he can perform for this club."

The United chief's reservations about playing Ben Arfa centre around the number of goals conceded down the wing that the France forward has played on. Detailed video analysis has not aided the forward's case - although Pardew knows he is the chief creative threat in the team. As Pardew looks to Ben Arfa to raise his game, he admits that the team have pored over the tapes of the Everton match and tried to take the lessons from it. "I think it could be, sometimes in a season you have games or periods of games where you can reflect on and I think we can reflect well on that secondhalf and draw strength from that as we go along," the manager said. …

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