Back in the early 2010s, Newcastle United had a French playmaking pair in the midfield.
Newcastle United has had its fair share of skillful tandems up top, but they’ve also had some great playmakers setting up those strikers. In the early 2010s, the Magpies had two elite midfielders at creating chances and pushing the action. We look at the French duo of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye.
The mercurial Ben Arfa arrived on loan for the 2010-11 season, but a leg injury took him out for most of the campaign. Despite the injury, he was signed to a permanent deal and returned healthy for the 2011-12 season when he was joined by Cabaye.
In that first year together, the two midfielders combined for eight goals and 14 assists in the Premier League. Newcastle United would finish 5th on the table, earning a spot in the Europa League. In the FA Cup, Ben Arfa scored one of his most memorable goals against Blackburn.
That summer, Ben Arfa and Cabaye featured together for France in EURO 2012. Cabaye played in three matches and scored one goal while Ben Arfa played twice and didn’t register a goal or assist.
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2012-13 saw Ben Arfa score four goals and assist on three more in the EPL and Europa League. Cabaye wasn’t able to register any goals or assists in European play, but he did score six times in the Premier League and added two assists while also missing time due to injury. He also spent some time as the captain for the Magpies. That would be their last full season together.
For the 2013-14 campaign, Cabaye scored seven goals and had three assists before leaving in January for Paris Saint Germain. Ben Arfa tallied five assists and three goals in his last full season with Newcastle United. The next year, he would leave to join Hull City on loan where he played for Steve Bruce. His contract with Newcastle came to an end in January of 2015.
Enjoy this article on a popular Newcastle United duo? Check out the rest of the series: Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse, Les Ferdinand and David Ginola, Ayoze Perez and Salomon Rondon, and Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson.