The versatile France international has been left out by Alan Pardew in recent weeks, but where does he fit in at St James’ Park?
Newcastle have switched from a bespoke 4-3-3 formation to a traditional 4-4-2 of late, with the change resulting in positive performances.
Back-to-back victories over Chelsea and Tottenham show that despite the emergence of a number of new formations in English football, 4-4-2 seems to suit the Tyneside outfit.
One man that could potentially play in a number of positions in the system, but has been excluded of late, is Hatem Ben Arfa.
Arguably Newcastle’s most technically gifted player, Pardew has played the France international in a number of different roles since his switch to St James’ Park, with the manager looking to get the most out of the mercurial attacker.
It will only be a matter of time before Ben Arfa is restored to the starting XI, but where should he play?
The former Marseille man is able to play on either flank or could be used as a second striker, while he has also been deployed as a false nine this term. Despite a lack of real strength in depth at Newcastle, their first team is strong and the reintroduction of Ben Arfa would be at the expense of a top Premier League player, which must be taken into consideration.
Moussa Sissoko has taken up the position on the right of midfield over the last couple of games, despite being more at home in the centre of the park.
The rangy midfielder put in an industrious performance against Tottenham at the weekend, with his power and pace giving Spurs left-back Jan Vertonghen problems. Sissoko also brings a goal threat to the team with his running off the ball, and looks to cut off his wing to get involved in dangerous attacking positions.
On the other side, Yoan Gouffran was one of the unsung heroes of Newcastle’s victory at White Hart Lane. He tracked back to help Davide Santon nullify the attacking threat of Tottenham’s right flank, provided himself as an out ball when the Toon were under pressure and played a delightful throughball to facilitate Loic Remy’s winner.
In attack, Remy must play through the middle and as the furthest man forward, and was accompanied
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