Is the answer to Newcastle's problems playing for their reserves?

Alan Pardew

Hatem Ben Arfa says he wants to stay with the Magpies. Is it time for Alan Pardew to use the 27-year-old?

According to the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the Frenchman has told team-mates he wants to stay at St James' Park and fight a place in the Newcastle United side.

Pardew's men, meanwhile, have gone two games without a goal in the Premier League, as worries begin to surface over their ability to find the back of the net.

Could two and two, then, make four?

Ben Arfa has had his troubles on Tyneside but, when a side is struggling for goals, it's not often a playmaker with flair is available to sign - let alone be part of your squad already.

Indeed, the 27-year-old is currently playing for Newcastle's reserves - but Magpies fans have attended in their hundreds to watch him.

And, in hist first 90-minute game for them - a 5-2 win against Reading - Ben Arfa did what he does best, scoring a fine individual goal.

Perhaps it is time for Pardew to put his ego to one side and give the Frenchman a run out.

 2011/12 TeamPosGoalsAssistsDribbles WonAppsMins
Demba Ba Newcastle United FW 16 2 19 34 2,729
Papiss Demba Cissé Newcastle United FW 13 1 5 14 1,113
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle United MF 5 5 52 26 1,556
Leon Best Newcastle United FW 4 2 13 18 1,165
 2012/13 TeamPosGoalsAssistsDribbles WonAppsMins
Demba Ba Chelsea FW 13 0 8 20 1,669
Papiss Demba Cissé Newcastle United FW 8 2 11 36 3,005
Yohan Cabaye Newcastle United MF 6 2 7 26 2,122
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle United MF 4 2 79 19 1,462
 2013/14 TeamPosGoalsAssistsDribbles WonAppsMins
Loïc Remy Newcastle United FW 14 3 29 26 2,103
Yohan Cabaye Newcastle United MF 7 2 6 19 1,509
Yoan Gouffran Newcastle United FW 6 3 20 35 2,620
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle United MF 3 3 67 27 1,303

As Opta stats show, Ben Arfa has been one of Newcastle's top four scorers in every one of the past three Premier League seasons. He hasn't scored that many but goals and assists have always been a feature of his game.

Meanwhile, he has won more dribbles than any Newcastle player hands down in the past three years. Just the creativity Pardew might need.

If the Magpies continue to falter in front of goal, Ben Arfa might just be worth a call, then. He may not track back and he may prefer to go it alone rather than find his team-mates. But he can score and create goals - something Pardew's side so far look as though they will struggle to do this season.

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