... Moussa Sissoko has been putting in strong performances on the wing.
Alan Pardew: "It was a tough decision to leave out Ben Arfa, because he’s a quality player.
“But I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the work Moussa did in the week in those wide areas. He did it again and put in a real shift with quality.
“Hatem is a player we know can change a game.
“That game was made for Hatem, at 0-0, if we hadn’t of scored.
“But we scored the goal just as I thought about putting him on.”
Although Pardew never says a cross work about owner Mike Ashley (earning himself the title "Patsy"), he has been very forthright about Ben Arfa.
Last week he said he "expected more" from the Frenchman, suggesting he was not a team player and didn't watch for players ghosting in behind the backline, choosing to shoot from distance.
I'd go as far as to say it's probably the only criticism he has given a player in public ... although most of what Pardew said was right.
Pardew knows his players a lot better than I do, and perhaps Ben Arfa can shrug it off.
But, although Lomana Lua Lua and Temuri Ketsbia were FAR more effective coming off the bench, I think Ben Arfa is a player with much more ability than that.
Source: Newcastle United Mad