Newcastle 2-0 Bolton: King Arfa lifts Toon closer to top four
Published 17:04 09/04/12 By David Anderson
THERE were probably one or two sniggers when Alan Pardew likened Hatem Ben Arfa to Lionel Messi recently.
But after his wonder goal against Bolton yesterday, surely no one can be smirking at the comments from the Newcastle manager now.
Ben Arfa’s superb solo effort was as good as anything Barcelona wizard Messi has conjured up at the Nou Camp, and will push Peter Crouch’s volley against Manchester City in the race for goal of the season.
Ben Arfa received the ball from Yohan Cabaye in his own half on the edge of the centre circle before going on a scintillating run.
It had shades of Maradona v England as he flicked the ball past Sam Ricketts, accelerated away from Mark Davies before lifting it between David Wheater and Tim Ream and then coolly planting it into the far bottom corner of the net.
Ben Arfa scored a similar goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup in January and Alan Pardew hailed his maverick star as a special talent.
Toon boss Pards beamed: “You don’t see many goals like that and I’ve been lucky enough to see two of them this year – both from the same player. It was a truly special goal.
“He’s going to get all the plaudits and so he should for a goal of that quality.
“I’ve been pushing this for a while and he should definitely have a chance for the French squad.
“The French manager needs to understand not only did he get that goal today, he had a hand in our second one as well.”
The Frenchman’s moment of magic put Newcastle on their way to a fifth successive Premier League win for the first time since April 2006.
And more importantly it moved them level on points with Tottenham in the race for a Champions League spot.
“We said if we were in there with six games to go, we would give it a go and that’s what we will do,” vowed Pardew.
“I’ve never ruled it out and if we don’t make Europe with this points total, it will be difficult to take.”
Ben Arfa’s goal on 73 minutes brought Newcastle to life after relegation-threatened Bolton had been the better side.
Pardew admitted Wanderers could have been ahead and Tim Krul made a fine stop to deny Chris Eagles just after the break before blocking Mark Davies’ poor effort at close range.
Newcastle could not get going and Adam Bogdan had been largely untroubled, saving a curling effort from Fabricio Coloccini and seeing a free-kick from Ben Arfa go wide.
But Ben Arfa’s brilliance broke Bolton’s resistance as the effects of playing two games inside 48 hours took their toll on Owen Coyle’s men.
Newcastle took full advantage to score a second on 83 minutes when substitute Shola Ameobi crossed for Papiss Cisse to bag his 10th goal in nine games.
However Coyle claimed the Senegal striker’s goal was clearly offside.
And he also felt the result was harsh on his team, who remain two places and just one point above the drop zone.
“Ben Arfa’s goal was a wonderful piece of skill, but prior to that we were the team creating the chances,” said the Bolton manager.
“The second goal was a yard offside and we certainly deserve to be leaving here with something.”