Hatem Ben Arfa was one of those wonderkids, touted to rule the soccer world when he grows up. Things didn’t turn out exactly as planned, but he did become a very good player. A great start to his Newcastle career was quickly stopped by the menacing Nigel De Jong. Making a slow return in 2011-2012, Ben Arfa opened 2012 with a brilliant goal in the FA Cup.
And it wasn’t some Division 2 side Newcastle were facing. Blackburn aren’t the strongest side in the English Premier League, but they are in pretty good form and no Premier League side should make it this easy for a player to dance his way through a forest of defenders, en route to a brilliant goal.
Ben Arfa’s goal, coming in the 70th minute, levelled things at the St. James’ Park before Jonas Gutierrez stepped up in the 90th minute to score the winner and put Newcastle through into the fourth round.
For Ben Arfa, it was the first time this season he managed a full 90 minutes, with his time on the pitch varying from starter to a 20-30 minute substitute or being left on the bench throughout the match, like in the recent 3-0 win over Manchester United.