Can Hatem Ben Arfa inspire Newcastle United to safety


HATEM Ben Arfa will put in some hard yards on the training field this week – so he has the legs to get Newcastle United out of relegation trouble.

Manager Alan Pardew is hoping the forward can inject some life into his team in the last five games of the season.

Mathieu Debuchy and Cheik Tiote are also set for a gruelling week on the training field ahead of the game against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

The trio all returned from injury last week, with Ben Arfa coming off the bench against Benfica and Sunderland and defender midfielder Debuchy and Tiote starting the Tyne-Wear derby.

And Pardew needs them fit and ready for the last five Premier League games.

Newcastle’s top-flight status remains in jeopardy in the wake of Sunday’s 3-0 defeat in the Tyne-Wear derby.

“We certainly can do a week’s work with Hatem and Debuchy, who had his first game (back from injury),” Pardew said.

“And we’ll do more work with Cheik.”

However, some of Pardew’s other players will be rested in the early part of the week.

While reluctant to use tiredness as an excuse, Pardew felt fatigue was a factor against Sunderland in the wake of the club’s two-legged Europa League quarter-final against Benfica, which his side lost 4-2 on aggregate.

Stand-in captain Yohan Cabaye, in particular, looked jaded in midfield, where a lacklustre United were out-fought and out-played.

Later in the week, Pardew and his coaching staff will work on team shape ahead of the game against eighth-placed West Bromwich Albion.

“We’ll give a rest to some of the other guys,” added Pardew.

“Certainly, Thursday and Friday we’ll be working on team shape, because our shape wasn’t right. It was a little bit loose – we can’t have that.”

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