Ben Arfa’s double vision at Newcastle after Anfield agony

POSITIVE ... Hatem Ben Arfa.
POSITIVE ... Hatem Ben Arfa.

HATEM Ben Arfa says he and his Newcastle United team-mates can put their Anfield disappointment behind them – by recording back to back wins.

A superb second-half goal from Luis Suarez claimed a point for Liverpool on Sunday.

Alan Pardew’s side, looking to claim Newcastle’s first win at the stadium in 18 years, had led through a first-half goal Yohan Cabaye, which was created by Ben Arfa.

Pardew lost three players, including Cabaye, to injury and captain Fabricio Coloccini – dismissed for a high challenge on Suarez – to a three-game ban on what was a costly afternoon on Merseyside.

Ben Arfa, yet to feature for United in Europe this season, is now focused on Thursday night’s game at Club Brugge – and beyond that Sunday’s home match against West Ham United.

The aim is to qualify for the Europa League’s Round of 32 – and climb the Premier League table.

“We have a big week ahead,” said Ben Arfa. “First Brugge, and then West Ham, and we have to win both.

“If we win the next few games in the Premier League we will move up the table. There’s West Ham first and then Swansea (on November 17). I think the next five games are very important.”

Newcastle were put under pressure by Liverpool in the first half, but Cabaye’s goal two minutes before the interval turned the game on its head.

And Ben Arfa was frustrated that United couldn’t hold on and claim all three points.

“We did well, but maybe we lost concentration in the second half,” said the 25-year-old. “They scored a goal, but I think we made it hard for them to score more.

“We defended very well in the second half. I think it’s a good point.

“Sometimes it is hard to get points here because there’s a big atmosphere.”

It was Cabaye’s second goal in three games, the midfielder having netted in the Wear-Tyne derby last month.

Ben Arfa broke down the right and played a deep cross which was despatched past Brad Jones by Cabaye with his right foot after he took a touch to control it.

“It was a very nice goal from Cabaye,” added Ben Arfa. “He controlled the ball and shot an unstoppable effort.

“It was a nice cross. Every time I try to create situations like that. If Yohan can keep doing the rest, we’ll be OK.

“We could have won the game. Even after the goal we had chances – two or three – but we had to defend a lot. By the end they could have won the game, but this is a good point.”

However, Coloccini’s dismissal – and the resulting suspension – will prove costly.

“It was the only bad part of the day,” said Ben Arfa. “We have lost Colo, and he’s very important for us. It was the worst experience of the day to lose him.

“I didn’t see the tackle. Sometimes it is about tension in the game. Maybe that is what happened.”

Meanwhile, United will not appeal the red card shown to Coloccini by referee Anthony Taylor.