Hatem Ben Arfa’s wonder goal ensured Newcastle United’s surge towards a Champion’s League place continued, as Bolton were defeated 2-0 at St James’ Park.

Papiss Cisse scored the second to continue his stunning start to life in the Premier League and the Senegal hit man now has ten goals in nine games for his new club.

But today was all about Ben Arfa, whose goal comfortably sits in the top drawer of quality and confidence. Beating four Bolton defenders and goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, the former Marseille man could have been confused for Lionel Messi as he put the Magpies ahead.

It was far from the calibre of performances which have seen Alan Pardew’s side rack up five wins in a row, but an efficient one nonetheless. Bolton put up a good fight without threatening to take maximum points, but Ben Arfa’s moment of brilliance was too much for Owen Coyle’s strugglers.

Ben Arfa wasn’t the only one who enjoyed a brilliant display though, as Tim Krul once again excelled himself in the Newcastle goal, pulling off two saves in particular which enhanced his reputation as one of the brightest young goalkeepers in the world.

The hosts welcomed back captain Fabricio Coloccini, who partnered Mike Williamson in the heart of defence, with James Perch moving into midfield with Yohan Cabaye. The changes seen Pardew switch back to a 4-4-2 formation, but the home side lacked some of the cutting edge that sliced through the likes of Swansea and West Brom.

Maybe the tolls of playing two games in four days prevented the Magpies from hitting the heights of recent weeks; although it’s something they are going to have to get used to if they are to be playing European football next season.

The first half passed without any real goalmouth incident, as Cisse was starved of the ball and didn’t have a chance to test Bogdan in the Bolton goal. Demba Ba also looked a frustrated figure, as his goal glut continues.

Newcastle transfer target Mark Davies caught the eye in the second half though, testing Krul with a fierce low shot before failing to convert a Kevin Davies cross minutes later.

The scare forced the hosts to come forward and take the game to their struggling opposition and realise that they were not going to roll over, but Ben Arfa’s goal was something that would have killed off even the strongest of opposition.

Executing a deft Cruyff turn inside his own half, Ben Arfa sprinted away from another tackle before bearing down on goal. Bolton centre-backs David Wheater and Tim Ream were both busy marking Demba Ba and Cisse, allowing the France international to skip through the middle of them before slotting it comfortably past the onrushing Bogdan. In total, Ben Arfa carried the ball 70 yards before finding the back of the net.

The goal sent the capacity crowd into raptures and had whispers of Champions League football echoing around St James’ Park once again. News that Tottenham were losing at home to Norwich gave Geordies further reason to shout too. There was still time for more as well, when Cisse notched his tenth goal in nine games.

The strike was nowhere near as breathtaking as Ben Arfa’s, but equally as important. Substitute Shola Ameobi’s exquisite goal was begging to be converted by Cisse, and the former Freiburg man was in the right place at the right time once again to cap off a fine win for the Magpies.

The win temporarily moved Newcastle into 5th in the table, although a win for Chelsea in the Monday night game against Fulham would mean Pardew’s side would slip back down to 6th. Whatever position the Magpies end the weekend in, Ben Arfa’s wonder goal will have the Toon Army salivating at the thought of taking on the cream of the European crop.


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  1. dave

    cant wait till next season when newcastle show how similar they are to villa a few seasons ago when they got close to champions league football only to have a poor season afterwards, newcastle dont deserve to be in the top 10 never mind the top 20!!! from not a sunderland fan, despite what you may think by my comment, might even replicate birmingham and get relegated 😀 cant wait!

  2. Geordie Lad

    Only one thing to say Dave! "SAD MACKEM BAS??RD" PS, Loved the hammering the Everton second team dished out? Ha Ha.


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