Alan Pardew is full of praise for Hatem Ben Arfa. Steve Bruce worries Nicklas Bendtner might be targeted by other clubs, while Per Mertesacker is defended by Arsene Wenger after a poor showing at Norwich:
Having finally lost their unbeaten record at the weekend, Alan Pardew had some good news ahead of Newcastle’s clash with Man United. Both Cheik Tiote and Gabriel Obertan are looking likely to feature at Old Trafford, according to Pardew, while Leon Best could also be ready for a return against the champions on Saturday afternoon.
Pardew was delighted with the display of Hatem Ben-Arfa at the Etihad, with the Frenchman -having finally returned to full fitness after an ankle injury- making his first league start of the season. The Toon boss praised his work ethic, a crucial aspect of Newcastle’s play, and suggested Ben Arfa could establish himself as a major player for the club over the next few months. Given he’s a 5.4 priced midfielder, Ben Arfa could come in for some considerable Fantasy investment over the new few weeks, particularly once the upcoming games against Man United and Chelsea are out of the way.
Hatem did some great stuff up front for us, but look at his work at the other end. There is no problem with that. He works really, really hard and I said to him, ‘Coming into this team, the one thing the other players are wanting to see from you is energy’ because that is what we have had all year. Every player who has come in has given me energy and he did give me that – and extra quality. Hopefully he can take us forward.
Leighton Baines has confirmed he is more than happy to remain Everton’s number one spot-kick taker. His late penalty earned the Toffees a 2-1 win over Wolves last weekend and although the left-back had missed his previous attempt –in the League Cup against Chelsea- he told evertontv he has no qualms about keeping his role:
I am happy to get in amongst it and step up and take them. You can’t score them all but it is important you score the majority of them and I am happy to keep on taking them.
David Moyes has admitted he is still awaiting news as to when both Jack Rodwell and Sylvain Distin can return to action. The duo missed last weekend’s victory and the Toffees boss admits he’s desperate to get them back as Everton look to continue their winning ways:
Rodwell came off in the Sweden game with a rib injury. We are not sure if it is a twist or a kick; if it is a kick it won’t be too long but if it is a twist it will be a bit longer. Sylvain has got a bit of a problem with his groin and it is a miss because we need the boys. We have got games when the physical element will come into question against the likes of Bolton and Stoke and it will be really important we get them back available for us.
Steve Bruce feels his chances of acquiring Nicklas Bendtner on a permanent basis may be scuppered by the Dane’s recent performances. The on-loan Arsenal frontman has lit up the international stage, in particular, since moving to Sunderland on loan and with 5 goals in as many games for his country alerting plenty of his abilities, the Black Cats boss is worried he lose out on his signature:
I have made no secret we would love to sign him. However, it is going to be one of those again, the better he does, certainly internationally, (the more) people are looking at him. I spoke to (Denmark coach) Morten Olsen on Thursday and he was delighted with his performances and, I have to say, so am I for us. He has done terrifically well, so let’s hope he keeps doing that.
Bruce has given Kieren Westwood a huge vote of confidence after the summer signing from Coventry stepped into the first-team in recent weeks. A fractured eye socket for first-choice keeper Simone Mignolet afforded Westwood a chance in the Black Cats starting XI and Bruce has been so impressed, he’s hinted that Westwood will take some toppling even when Mignolet is available for selection.
Arsene Wenger has jumped to the defence of Per Mertesacker after an unconvincing display from the big centre-half at Norwich last weekend. The Gunners boss cited the transformation of Laurent Koscielny as an example, suggesting we may not see the best of the German in an Arsenal shirt until next season:
It’s a different game in England. It’s a very demanding game for a defender because you are always tested. Every second of the game you are tested with full commitment and it takes time to adapt. We have seen that with Koscielny. Last year he would not have delivered that kind of performance because you learn that from fighting in every game and that’s why it’s so difficult to buy defenders abroad.
A quick word on this morning’s bonus point allocation from last night’s game at White Hart Lane. Emmanuel Adebayor’s brace pipped Gareth Bale to the maximum and was second overall in the EA SPORTS PPI stats for the gameweek. Adebayor may have fired 3 shots off target but his double was enough to see off Bale in second place. Having failed to score since gameweek five, Adebayor had tested the patience of his Fantasy owners but surrounded by such a wealth of attacking midfield talents, it’s obvious he will always have plenty of chances to find the net.
Bale’s 2 bonus points means he has now returned double figures in his last three matches- he is now just 4 points behind Rafael Van der Vaart for the season and priced at 8.2 to the Dutchman’s 10.4, could tempt many Fantasy managers as they look for ways to cut budgets. Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s single bonus point may have come as a surprise for those who watched the game but his EA SPORTS PPI stats are consistently strong- he has failed to score under 15 in the Index just once in their unbeaten nine-match run.