Despite a distressful last year at Newcastle United, Hatem Ben Arfa has high hopes for the Magpies in 2013-14.
“Our objective is to finish in the top 10 and I hope we can finish top five,” the midfielder told The Sun on Thursday.
It’s a notion that some may snicker at, especially considering the destruction Newcastle suffered last Monday night in the 4-0 loss to Manchester City. “That is going to be tough but I’m confident. The Manchester City game has gone and now we have to turn out attention to West Ham on Saturday.”
Forgetting the City game is a good idea. Yes, the Magpies offense was positively anemic (their only shot on target was Cheick Tiote’s rip from 35 yards out) and defense was leakier than a soiled diaper. Both of these, of course, come with the caveat of having played a man down for 45 minutes. (Cheers, Steven Taylor.)
The fact remains that despite Monday’s display and all the other blights on Newcastle in the last 12 months – the 16th place finish in the league, the loss of Demba Ba, the 3-0 pounding handed out by rival Sunderland at St. James’ Park, a transfer market that hasn’t seen a single dollar spent and the comically inept trio of Joe Kinnear, Mike Ashley and Alan Pardew – the Magpies still managed a 5th place finish in 2011-12.
Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?
So let’s hand it to Ben Arfa. For a player who feels like he could be half of a season away from a possible transfer out of Tyneside, he’s on-board for the rise of the Toon. “I will be doing everything for the team to maybe repeat what we did two years ago,” the 26 year old continued. “We will be stronger than last year. There’s confidence in the squad. We think we can do something good this season.”