Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 2: Pardew praises ‘unplayable’ Ben Arfa

Aston Villa 1 Newcastle 2: Alan Pardew says Hatem Ben Arfa was "unplayable" after a narrow win at Villa Park

The Sport Review staff
Aston Villa
Newcastle United

Alan Pardew heaped praise on “unplayable” Hatem Ben Arfa after the Frenchman played a pivotal role in Newcastle United’s slender win at Aston Villa.

Ben Arfa put the Magpies ahead in the 18th minute after combining with compatriot Loic Remy, who joined Newcastle United on a season-long loan from Queens Park Rangers in August.

Paul Lambert’s men did level through Christian Benteke midway through the second half before Ben Arfa’s long-range shot was parried into the path of Yoan Gouffran, who duly netted a 73rd-minute winner.

“We carried a lot of offensive threat,” Pardew told BBC Sport.

“We haven’t had enough threat, but we’ve got it now.

“Hatem Ben Arfa got a lot of headlines last time he scored against Fulham but I thought he did just OK then. Today he was unplayable. Hatem was on fire today.

“He has the ability to hold on to the ball and give us a rest, then burst past one or two players. If he can get consistency not only will he be a threat for us, but a threat for France at the World Cup.”

Meanwhile, Aston Villa manager Lambert was critical of his side’s first-half performance, whilst also conceding the Magpies were just too strong at Villa Park.

“We never really got going in the first half,” said Lambert.

“Credit to Newcastle on that side. We got back in the game with Christian’s [Benteke] goal. The second goal was a poor goal to concede.

“You pick yourselves up when you go behind and go again. We gave it a right go but you can’t start the way we did.”

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