Premier League fans have been bounding around the phrase ‘the streets will never forget’ a lot this season.
Although the expression has a somewhat fluid definition, it’s been a title under which supporters of various clubs have been able to herald players who were once the unexpected talk of the town.
Swansea City’s flash-in-the-pan striker Michu is perhaps one of the most prominent examples, but one-season wonders aren’t the only category of player to get the nod.
Longer-lasting cult heroes such as Papiss Demba Cisse, Morten Gamst Pedersen, Adel Taarabt, Clint Dempsey and Florent Malouda, to name just a few, are all worthy of a mention.
However, park all those names for a second, because we’re inclined to think Hatem Ben Arfa encapsulates the spirit of ‘the streets will never forget’ better than anyone else.
Ben Arfa’s magic at Newcastle
In particular, we’re talking about his time with Newcastle United, where the tricky Frenchman first announced himself to English football fans and in spectacular fashion at that.
Ben Arfa is widely acknowledged to be one of the most technically gifted players in the world and somebody who would arguably be in Ballon d’Or contention if it was judged on talent alone.
While, yes, a lack of discipline and consistency has constantly held him back from becoming a truly world-class player, that doesn’t mean he didn’t produce countless moments of magic regardless.
‘The streets will never forget Ben Arfa’
And although a broken leg threatened to curtail his Newcastle career before it even started, the 2011/12 and 2012/13 campaigns saw the winger grow an enviable highlights reel.
Sadly for the St. James’ Park regulars, that sort of maverick brilliance hasn’t been seen in the half-decade since, but lest we forget that supporters, much like the streets, never forget.
So, in that spirit, we can turn our attentions to a superb compilation from YouTuber ‘ASComps – Match Compilations’ titled: ‘Streets won’t forget Hatem Ben Arfa at Newcastle…’
They certainly won’t and in the absence of much entertainment, indulge yourself with some long-range screamers and Lionel Messi-like dribbles down below:
Cor, Ben Arfa could have been a world-beater.
It’s almost frustrating when you see a player like Ben Arfa because you just know that they could have become even greater than they already are under the right circumstances.
We’re not saying he’d be hoovering up Ballon d’Or trophies, but you can’t be that skilful and talented and not have the potential to become one of the best players in the world.
Ben Arfa never reached that level in the end, but there’s no shame in a career which brought 15 caps for France, a move to Paris Saint-Germain and five Ligue 1 trophies.
As far as the streets are concerned, though, Ben Arfa will be remembered the fondest of all for five years at Newcastle in which anything and everything seemed possible. Those were the days.
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