Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has heaped special praise on Haten Ben Arfa.

The comments came after 24-year-old made his first Barclays Premier League appearance of the season in their first defeat in 12 league outings against high-flying Manchester City.

Now Pardew will have to choose between Ben Arfa, Leon Best and Shola Ameobi to play up-front with top scorer Demba Ba for the weekend clash with Manchester United - but his biggest worry is keeping the Red Devils' attackers at bay.

“He (Ben Arfa) can create a special moment for us – I’ve said that all along – but you have to have a platform to do that," said Pardew.

“Last week we had a platform because we were sound defensively for long periods of the game and kept them (Man City) at bay.

“We had two chances before Man City scored, and if we’d have taken one, it would have been a very different afternoon."

Like City, United have a wealth of attacking talent, but Sir Alex Ferguson is still unsure on the fitness of striker Wayne Rooney, who missed United's midweek Champions League game with a hip problem.

Pardew is not getting his hopes up though; “If he plays midfield, it makes it more difficult to pin him down.

“He’s a world-class player and a real danger.”

Newcastle will look to win at Old Trafford for the first time since 1972 when the sides meet on Saturday.

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