Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If Others Have Got to Work Hatem Ben Arfa Then It Is Harder to Accommodate a Small Price Worth Paying; All the Effort of Covering for Flair Players Is Always Well Worth It

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

If Others Have Got to Work Hatem Ben Arfa Then It Is Harder to Accommodate a Small Price Worth Paying; All the Effort of Covering for Flair Players Is Always Well Worth It

Article excerpt

Byline: ROB LEE The General's verdict

HERE'S the thing about flair players.

If they play badly then they are of little use to the team. These guys don't track back. They don't dig in. They don't defend.

And if it isn't happening for them in an attacking sense, then they don't score or create chances for anyone else.

However, when it goes for these guys, all the extra work the rest of the players have to do in order to cover for them is utterly worth it.

Hatem Ben Arfa is our most creative player. He needs to start our home games and most away as well.

Oh I know he has a problem with his workrate in that he doesn't really work when Newcastle don't have the ball.

But he does things that nobody else can.

We don't create a lot of chances. Watching Newcastle of late, without Loic Remy, has been a bit boring.

Ben Arfa may infuriate, but he isn't boring and can produce moments of brilliance.

So what if the other players have to cover more ground when he's in the team? That's a price they should be willing to pay.

Cheick Tiote can run and win tackles all day. But he can't do what Ben Arfa does.

He changed the game against Crystal Palace. We were better when he was put on at Everton. I played with David Ginola. At his best, I would be in awe watching as he played his stuff.

He could do things I had never seen before.

There were times when the whole team was shaped up to get David on the ball as often as possible.

And there were days when he would drive you mad. He would be a liability.

We would put up with that because we knew David could deliver.

And, boy, could he deliver. So what if it was up to the rest of us to defence? The guy was special so he got a pass.

Ben Arfa isn't as good as David, but he is the one guy who runs past players. …

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