Hatem Ben Arfa ruled out of NUFC opener against Spurs


HATEM Ben Arfa is out of Saturday’s season-opener against Tottenham Hotspur.

Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew is sweating on the fitness of a clutch of players ahead of Saturday’s home game.

Captain Fabricio Coloccini and Cheik Tiote suffered knocks in Saturday’s 4-1 defeat to Cardiff City.

Yohan Cabaye is still short of match fitness, while Papiss Demba Cisse (hamstring) and Demba Ba (shin) are also in the treatment room.

And the clutch of injuries, while minor, are a concern for Pardew, who fears Ben Arfa (above) will also miss the first leg of Newcastle’s Europa League qualifier against Atromitos next week.

“Ben Arfa has a slight knee problem, which I think definitely keeps him out of the first week,” said Pardew.

“Papiss has got a slight hamstring – we think he’ll recover by Tuesday or Wednesday – and Demba has a shin injury, which he’s carried for a week or so.

“Yohan Cabaye is not right in terms of work he’s done.

“We are hoping to get him up to speed and get him involved on Saturday.

“Everybody else is OK, apart from the knocks we got at Cardiff.”

Coloccini was substituted at the break as a precaution, while Tiote left the field in the second half at the Cardiff City Stadium.

The injury looks certain to keep him out of Ivory Coast’s friendly against Russia in Moscow on Wednesday.

“Cheik has got a calf problem,” said Pardew. “We’ll have to see. I don’t think he’ll travel, by the way.

“Colo looked like he was struggling after 20 minutes, which worries me. Colo didn’t want to come off being captain.

“I wasn’t sure if he was injured or not, so he might have played too long.”