ALAN Pardew has again apologised to Newcastle fans for the Magpies’ recent losing streak – but he’s unlikely to yield to those who want Hatem Ben Arfa recalled.
Ben Arfa has not featured since recovering from the dead leg he suffered last month.
The forward clashed with manager Pardew in the dressing room after last month’s home defeat to Manchester United.
And Ben Arfa could well have already kicked his last ball for the club, having been made to train away from the first-team group.
Many supporters want Ben Arfa recalled for Sunday’s season finale against Liverpool at Anfield.
But Pardew – who talked of standing by his managerial “principles” after last week’s win over Cardiff – could again leave Ben Arfa out of his squad.
“I’ve got to apologise for the six games that went before (Cardiff),” Pardew said. “At least, we’ve put it to an end. It’s not cured the situation, but we’ve stopped a difficult period.”
A run of four successive victories in November took the Tynesiders up to fifth in the Premier League, but Newcastle’s campaign steadily unravelled after the turn of the year, though Pardew maintains the results do not tell the whole story.
“We had winning momentum in November,” said Pardew. “But when momentum goes the other way, it can make you look worse than you are, which I think it did. It wasn’t that bad. We proved that.”
Meanwhile, second-placed Liverpool, two points adrift of leaders Manchester City, can still win the Premier League title if Manuel Pellegrini’s side lose at home to West Ham and they take all three points.
However, City captain Vincent Kompany is confident they can complete their title charge in style and avoid a repeat of the nerve-jangling finish of 2012.
With a two-point advantage over Liverpool and a superior goal difference, the odds are heavily in their favour – but the potential for a tension-filled ending still exists.
City famously struck twice in the dying moments of their final game against QPR to snatch the title on goal difference from Manchester United two years ago.
Kompany hopes the experience of that dramatic finish will help guide them through this time around.
Kompany said: “We have been in this situation before. That gives you that little bit of time to take a deep breath and keep an overview of the situation.
“Two years ago it felt very full-on,. There were a lot of emotions involved.
“There is no guarantee, that is one thing we have learned, but we have won a lot of games at the Etihad.”