Monday, 16 September 2013

Player Analysis: Hatem Ben Arfa

Ben Arfa, the unique that could have you flying up the rankings!

By the Stats...
Price: 7.1
Total Score: 27
Average Score: 6.75
Selected by: 8.9%
Fixtures: HULL, Everton, Cardiff, LIVERPOOL, Sunderland

Career to this Stage

The 26 year old, French capped Paris born play-maker has thus far, put together the type of form we all suspect he had the ability to produce. Labelled a 'prodigy' at the tender age of 15, Ben Arfa made his senior debut for Lyon in 2004 as a 17 year old, and quickly displayed his undoubted talents. In 43 appearances in his final season for Lyon, he scored 8 and assisted 5 in 43 appearances over League and European Competition. 

He moved onto Marseille in 2008, where he managed 60-odd games but again failed to reach his potential on a consistent basis. After yet more off field issues, this time involving a heated argument during a training session with then manager Didier Deschamps, he was moved onto the Premier League.

He has since plied his trade in front of the Toon Army at St James' Park. Over the previous 3 seasons, Hatem hasn't been able to get an extended run at it due to various injuries. His best season from an appearance point of view saw him provide 7 assists and 6 goals in 26 appearances (2011/12). Ben Arfa is the classic 'form' player, at the height of his powers he is almost unstoppable but if he drops he can, at times, look like 'just another' footballer. 

2013/14 Stats

In general terms, the closer you are towards goal, the better your attacking production will generally be (of course there are the odd outliers like Torres!). With this in mind, lets take a look at his general positioning over the first 4 gameweeks;

Obviously playing wide right, Ben Arfa has shown that even when Newcastle are getting well beaten (such as the Man City match in the first week), he has still managed to maintain a relatively deep position. When you back up this graph with the following stats, the proof of his attacking potential becomes even greater.

Hatem has had a shot every 19.5 minutes, which is simply phenomenal. Comparing this stat to Robin Van Persie, an out-and-out striker and generally thought of as the best attacking man in the Premier League, the findings are quite incredible. Robin has averaged a shot every 21.2 minutes, a whole 1.7 minutes more than the wide attacking Newcastle man. Further testament to his attacking potential, Ben Arfa has averaged a 'strong chance created' every 84.3 minutes and has his completed passes percentage sitting at 89.2% in the final third.

An issue I have noticed with Ben Arfa is his propensity to shoot from long range, and as a by-product, many of his shots are off target (as seen below, all yellow are off target).  

I think the thing to consider here is that, although he may well be wasteful, at least he is giving himself the chance to score rather than passing and potentially not giving himself the opportunity to grab some attacking points. 


Overall Ben Arfa is another player who seems to come under the 'risk-reward' grouping. He has injury worries and at some stage you'll undoubtedly need to ship him out, as history suggests he will get injured this season. The positive is that he is immense value, he is Newcastle's attacking linchpin, and at the end of the day, when he is in form point scoring hauls of 15+ are quite realistic.

So what are your thoughts on Ben Arfa? Will you look to bring in the Frenchmen? Chuck us a comment and thanks for reading!