Given our failure to recruit an additional striker, we have to hope that Best continues the way he’s been going and that Shola and Ba come good. Alternatively, we’ll be looking for goals from midfield and Hatem Ben Arfa could just be the man to come good for us in that respect.
It’s good news then that he seems to be making his way back from injury and took part in his first training session yesterday. It was apparently only a ‘light exercise’ session (my equivalent of which is just lifting the one pint) but it gave physio Derek Wright a chance to assess the player.
Apparently the club aren’t too keen to rush him back from this injury and I get the impression it’ll be October before we see him available for first-team selection.
What I do wonder, though, is who makes way for him when he’s fit, assuming Ben Arfa is considered worthy of displacing someone else in the first place (and I suspect he might be).
Tiote and Cabaye are, I think, fairly set for the central midfield roles, which probably means Ben Arfa playing left wing or right wing in a 4-4-2 or just off the striker in a 4-5-1. Benny prefers the left, so it could mean displacing Jonas, who himself can play on the right. So in a 4-4-2 that would leave Obertan, Lovenkrands and Jonas fighting out the right wing position, unless of course we play Obertan as an out and out striker (personally I don’t see him as that).
I suspect – and I am only guessing – that Pardew would like to play Benny ‘in the hole’, which would probably mean Obertan or Lovenkrands making way.
I don’t know, but at least there’s plenty of choice in our midfield even if we are possibly undermanned in other areas.
Either way, I do hope Ben Arfa has just been unlucky with two successive injuries and is not going to become generally ‘injury prone’, which I can’t help but worry about sometimes. The lad promises much and I hope he gets a long injury-free spell to prove himself. It’s hard to believe he’s only actually played four times for us.