NEWCASTLE boss Alan Pardew has revealed why he left Hatem Ben Arfa out of his starting XI last week – because Moussa Sissoko has given his side wings.
Ben Arfa was an unused substitute in last weekend’s 2-0 home win over Chelsea, and he could again be benched for Sunday’s tough trip to Tottenhame.
Manager Pardew started Sissoko – more used to playing through the middle – on the right of midfield against Chelsea, and in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester City.
And he felt the 24-year-old’s cup display forced his hand.
Asked if it was a tough decision to leave out Ben Arfa, Pardew said: “It was, because he’s a quality player. But I couldn’t turn a blind to the work Moussa did in the week in those wide areas. He did it again and put in a real shift with quality.”
With more than an hour gone against Chelsea and the match goalless, Pardew was about to turn to Ben Arfa, who was warming up. However, Yoan Gouffran’s 68th-minute header changed the game.
Pardew instead threw on Gabriel Obertan, involved in the build-up to Loic Remy’s late clinching strike. Pardew added: “That game was made for Hatem, at 0-0, if we hadn’t scored. But we scored just as I thought about putting him on.”