HATEM Ben Arfa says it’s payback time for Newcastle United – starting against Chelsea in tomorrow’s lunchtime kick-off.
The Magpies take on Jose Mourinho’s side at St James’s Park, looking to put league and cup defeats to Sunderland and Manchester City behind them.
Newcastle’s Wear-Tyne derby defeat last weekend angered supporters, who saw their team knocked out of the Capital One Cup on Wednesday night despite a much-improved performance.
Ben Arfa insists the players were also hurting in the dressing room after the 2-1 loss at the Stadium of Light.
Now the challenge for Alan Pardew’s 11th-placed side is to get a result against in-form Chelsea, who lie second in the Premier League.
“After Sunderland, we were disappointed,” Ben Arfa said.
“In the dressing room, it was terrible, because we knew how important the game was for the fans.
“It was important to play well. We feel for the fans.
“For us, every game is about three points, but know how important the Sunderland game was for our fans.”
With the club out of the Capital One Cup, the only focus is the league until the FA Cup’s third round in January.
And Ben Arfa is adamant that Newcastle can replicate their top-five finish two seasons ago.
“The most important thing now is the league, and I think we can be high in the table at the end of the season,” said Ben Arfa.
“I hope we play like that against Chelsea. If we play like that, we have a chance.
“Chelsea have started well, and (Fernando) Torres is coming back into form. He’s a massive striker.
“He will be the most dangerous player against us.
“But I think we can win. We have a good team and good players.
“I think we can win – that is our objective.
“It’s a big game because it’s Chelsea, but it’s the same as any other. It’s a game for three points.
“That is the most important thing for us.”
Pardew named what he felt was a strong team for the City game, and the Tynesiders created a series of first-half opportunities.
But they could not take advantage, and David Silva’s introduction midway through the second half changed the game.
“We were disappointed,” added Ben Arfa, 26. “I think we played well. We had a lot of chances, and we didn’t score.
“If you have chances against that team, you have to score, because we they can score any time. It was just a goal missing.
“David Silva had a massive impact when he came on. He’s a great player. He has very good technique.
“We want to win something for the fans. That’s why we’re frustrated. In our minds, we want to win something. For a long time they have had nothing.
“I hope we will play to win the FA Cup.”