Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ben Arfa out in the Cold after Missing Arsenal Trip

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Ben Arfa out in the Cold after Missing Arsenal Trip

Article excerpt

Byline: Lee Ryder Chief Sports Writer lee.ryder@trinitymirror.com

NEWCASTLE United sources have played down talk Hatem Ben Arfa has been banished from the squad - but the playmaker could still leave St James' Park this summer.

Weekend reports suggested Ben Arfa had been ordered to go back to France.

However, United sources say the mdifield ace has been at the club's Benton base this week and was given the chance to put himself in contention for a squad place against Arsenal.

Ben Arfa has not travelled with Newcastle for tonight's clash at the Emirates Stadium.

The 27-year-old, who has not played for the Magpies since sustaining a knock on his hip against Stoke City two weeks ago, is thought to be nearing full fitness.

As reported in the Chronicle last week, Ben Arfa did return to France for treatment on his injured hip and a chance to gather his thoughts after two dressing-room bust-ups in a week.

Senior players were dismayed Ben Arfa played at Stoke City in the 1-0 defeat so soon after a verbal exchange with Alan Pardew in the aftermath of the 4-0 loss to Manchester United.

However, when Ben Arfa fired another verbal volley at Pardew after the game at the Britannia Stadium he was left out of the squad entirely for the 2-1 defeat against Swansea last week.

Pardew and Ben Arfa did hold talks after Stoke where the schemer was told he would not be discounted if he could prove his full fitness.

Yet United are not convinced Ben Arfa is in the right condition to play week in, week out and feel the former Lyon man is carrying too much weight.

Pardew will have Loic Remy and Mathieu Debuchy back in the mix at the Emirates tonight after neither suffered any reaction in their comeback game against the Swans.

United will be without Luuk de Jong for the trip to North London but Moussa Sissoko is back from a hamstring injury. …

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