Ben Arfa screamer lifts Newcastle over Fulham
Premier League, St James’ Park – Newcastle United 1 (Ben Arfa 86) Fulham 0
Hatem Ben Arfa produced a late moment of magic to hand Newcastle United their first win of the season 1-0 against Fulham.
For much of this encounter it had looked like Newcastle were going to extend their scoreless run to three games until Ben Arfa popped up with a stunning left-footed curler in the 86th minute.
It was just reward for a strong last 20 minutes that saw Loic Remy make his debut for Newcastle, shortly after the wantaway Yohan Cabaye had been introduced off the bench to a mixed reception.
Newcastle named an unchanged side from the one which drew 0-0 at home to West Ham United last weekend. Cabaye was restored to the bench after refusing to play against West Ham following a rejected bid from Arsenal.
PRE-MATCH: Fulham hand a full debut to Darren Bent after scoring as a substitute against Arsenal last weekend. Bryan Ruiz is also on the teamsheet, with Adel Taarabt and Pajtim Kasami the men to make way.
63' NEWCASTLE PRESS: Ben Arfa has a deflected shot saved and Papiss Cisse's shot is blocked as the home side increase the pressure.
66' KRUL SAVE: Newcastle keeper Tim Krul dives to his left to push away a Bryan Ruiz free-kick.
77' CISSE HITS BAR: The Newcastle number nine slams his header against the woodwork from a Ben Arfa cross.
86' GOAL - Newcastle 1-0 Fulham: Ben Arfa wins it with a moment of magic, bringing the ball down, jinking inside and curling a left-foot shot into the top corner. No chance Stockdale.
TALKING POINT: Yohan Cabaye came off the bench and put in a decent shift, suggesting his spell of mental turmoil over a proposed move to Arsenal is over. If Cabaye is still a Newcastle player on Tuesday morning it will help their top-ten aspirations immensely.
KEY STAT: Hatem Ben Arfa has scored in all three matches he has played against Fulham. Six of his12 Premier League goals have come against London sides.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle): The Frenchman was red hot in the second-half and lit up St James’ Park with his weaving runs and stunning 86th minute winner.