Punt of the Week - Gameweek 5 - Hatem Ben Arfa


Punt of the Week is our weekly article that puts forward a player with potential for big points but also represents an element of risk. Players who aren’t obvious picks.

The FPL Dugout team will take it in turns each week to choose their player, and put forward their reasons here. I’m Shiva!

After a couple of 2 pointers, Marco chipped in with a 6 point punt last Gameweek, and joined the group of Aaron. Hatem Ben Arfa will decide whether I follow Marco or join Sleno and Dudu in Azkaban Prison. Yes, my punt for the week is Hatem Ben Arfa.

The Potential

When you look a couple of years back, Hatem Ben Arfa was considered a raw talent which had the potential to be converted into a special player. Unfortunately he broke his leg in a game against Manchester City and was sidelined for about a year.

His return from injury has been more than decent and now he is one of the most feared dribblers in the Premier League. Who will forget his Messi-like magical goal against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup last season?

His 2 goals and 5 bonus points from 4 games is decent value for money, but believe me, he has more in him. With the Norwich defence at the helm, Ben Arfa could cause riots with his pace and power. Norwich didn’t concede more than 1 goal in their last 2 games but they did concede 5 in their first game this season so their defence can leak goals without a doubt.

Demba Ba not playing exactly as a striker has allowed Ben Arfa to go more aggressive and that has reflected in his shots on goal as well. Ben Arfa likes to play at home, with both his goals coming at home this season. His game time is also not a threat anymore after playing every minute of Newcastle’s games this season.

The Risk

The overall head-to-head record states that Newcastle have won 20 games against the 15 that the Canaries have won. It’s difficult to make too many conclusions from last season’s matches, because both teams won their home games. But Newcastle can be awfully bad away from home which can be seen from some of the scorelines last season.

Newcastle are yet to score in the first half this season which suggests that there might not be too many goals in the game. Ben Arfa isn’t much of a threat at set pieces, though he surprisingly took a penalty this season ahead of Ba and Cisse. But it’s not yet clear whether he will be the permanent penalty taker.

If Norwich see Hatem Ben Arfa as their main threat, they may man mark him and frustrate him with no space. Though man marking is unlikely to change the result of the match, it may leave Ben Arfa with just 2 points.

The Final Word

Man United, Liverpool, Man City and Arsenal play tough games this weekend, so Newcastle v Norwich is the game you cash in on. Norwich have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 35 Premier League away games. If Ben Arfa continues to be on penalties and Norwich continue to be shaky at the back, there are decent chances that Ben Arfa might bring a smile on your face in this cruel world of Fantasy Premier League!