HATEM Ben Arfa has sprinkled gold dust on Newcastle United’s already-sparkling season, according to Alan Pardew.
The forward scored a sensational solo goal in yesterday’s 2-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at St James’s Park.
Ben Arfa picked the ball up deep in his own half from Yohan Cabaye in the 73rd minute, and he beat Sam Ricketts, Mark Davies and finally David Wheater before coolly rolling the ball past goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
“It was a crucial goal for us – it was a gold dust goal,” Pardew told the Gazette.
“It’s the tradition to have fantastic players and goals here. That’ll be right up there, I think.”
Papiss Demba Cisse made certain of the points with his 10th goal of the season late in the game, and the result moved United level on points in the Premier League with fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, beaten by Norwich City.
United manager Pardew admitted after the game it was going to take something special to break Bolton’s stubborn resolve, with Owen Coyle’s relegation-threatened side having had the better of the game before the interval.
“It was at a time in the game where we were just starting to wind it up,” said Pardew.
“I thought Shola (Ameobi) would win us the game with his freshness off the bench. In the end, it was a bit of magic from Hatem.”
Ben Arfa was in and out of United’s team for the first two thirds of the season, Pardew having been looking for a greater work ethic and consistency from the 25-year-old, whose talent has never been in question.
However, the France international – who is looking to break into Laurent Blanc’s squad for Euro 2012 – has come to the fore in a five-game winning streak which has put Newcaslte back in the Champions League reckoning.
The strike was Ben Arfa’s sixth of the campaign, and he also had a hand in United’s second, with his defensive work pleasing Pardew.
“He’s got unbelievable talent, but he’s bought into the work ethic we’re about,” added Pardew.
“I don’t give him too much information offensively because you’ve just got to let a player like that have his imagination do the business.
“The other side of it – his positional player and defensive work – is everything I’m about with him, and he’s been brilliant.
“For the second goal, he actually clears it right-footed from the last third, and he’s going to get a bigger pat on the back from me for that.
“When your flair players work as hard as everyone else, you’ve got a chance of winning games.”