Say what you want about Hatem Ben Arfa, but do not call him a pessimist.
The French international has been speaking about the clubs plans for the upcoming season and showed remarkable self and team belief - despite coming off the back of a 4-0 drubbing against Manchester City.
Here is what Ben Arfa said this week:
Our objective is to finish in the top 10 and I hope we can finish top five. That is going to be tough but I'm confident. The Manchester City game has gone and now we have to turn out attention to West Ham on Saturday. I will be doing everything for the team to maybe repeat what we did two years ago. We will be stronger than last year. There's confidence in the squad. We think we can do something good this season."
Of course what you take from the above text is the ‘top five’ statement - and considering the turmoil at the club I doubt there are many other people who feel The Toon have a chance of finishing above either Manchester club, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal … or even Spurs and Swansea for that matter.
As a fan it is a good thing, seeing that your players are not just intent on staying in the Premier League - that there is an alternative to simply making do with a mid-table finish or survival.
But with Ben Arfa these can border on delusional.
It was around this time last year he spoke of the 2012-13 season. Of course Newcastle came into the new season high on confidence after an incredible 2011-12 - but that confidence ended up being misplaced, as they survived relegation by the skin of their teeth.
But it had got to Ben Arfa’s head, who seemed to suggest they could actually win the league last season:
‘’Maybe if we feel very good, we can finish between fourth and first. Why not? Why can we not say we could be champions? Maybe? Anything is possible. We can challenge for it. We have good players, a good stadium and great supporters. We have to have confidence. I believe we can do what I say.’’
Belief is good, confidence in your teams ability is a plus - being delusional is not.
Newcastle finishing in the top five is the type of off-the -cuff, laissez-faire, motivation that highlights the similar way in which the club is being run at the moment.
The Toon face West Ham at home on Satuday - and it will be interesting to see how fans react to the clubs hierarchy.
I think we know what the scoreline will be according to Ben Arfa - 7-0 with a hat-trick from his truly.
image: © machernucha