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Hatem Ben Arfa, this eternal intermittent of the show


Author of a remarkable start to the season with Bordeaux, the former international has been losing ground for several weeks, to the point of having lost his starting position. A sadly usual irregularity concerning him.

Doctor Hatem and Mister Ben Arfa.

Since the start of his career in the Lyon jersey, on August 16, 2004 against Nice, the native of Clamart, in the Parisian suburbs, has never known how to depart from his reputation as a player with two faces, from his eternal fickle label. .

Capable one day of the greatest feats, and the next day of anecdotal, not to say catastrophic, performances.

And it is not at 33 - soon 34 on March 7 - that one should expect to see him change and acquire a regularity that will have always eluded him.

"Hatem is free, and the team has to organize itself around where he is."

Jean-Louis Gasset

Thus, as in Nice or Rennes before, to cite only hexagonal examples, Ben Arfa flamed when he arrived in Bordeaux.

Author of 2 goals and 4 assists, he immediately seduced, in particular his trainer Jean-Louis Gasset who said then about him: "He rests us by his small dribbles, by his orientations of play, by his capacity to mobilize two or three opposing players which frees us up space.

Even if he is not yet at the top physically, he is a great player. "

True master to play of a Girondine formation otherwise lacking in inspiration, the former Lyonnais thus had preferential treatment from a Gasset who did not hesitate to proclaim: "Hatem is free, and the team must organize itself according to where it is. ”

A dubbing in good and due form, therefore.

Which sounds like a communication error today.

Not once decisive in 2021

Even if the former international striker Frédéric Piquionne defended Gasset on the airwaves of RMC: “The fact that Jean-Louis Gasset said to give the ball to Hatem, to trust him, it was to put him in confidence in relation to the team.

Afterwards, I do not mind that Gasset was wrong about Hatem Ben Arfa, but there are many people who would have been wrong about his case… ”Statistically, the observation, in any case, is relentless.

Victim of a muscle injury in early January, Ben Arfa is struggling to regain his November-December level and he has not been decisive for the Girondins since December 23.

And unsurprisingly, since his return from injury against Lyon on January 29 - a match cruelly lost in the last seconds by the Girondins on a goal from elsewhere from Léo Dubois (2-1) - Bordeaux has never tasted victory, even being eliminated at home in the 32nd finals of the Coupe de France by the Toulouse rival, resident of Ligue 2 (0-2).

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At first, Gasset, paternalistic, had tried to put out the smoldering fire by protecting his playmaker. “What is certain is that since his injury he has not returned to his November level, where he had been excellent in Rennes or Paris.

He had scored and made assists.

Today, he is struggling to come back physically.

We know that this kind of player when he does not make the difference, he is a little more criticized.

It's logic."

But internally, the situation would turn out to be very different, like a Laurent Koscielny, the captain, who no longer hides his criticisms against some of his partners, whom he considers insufficiently invested.

And obviously, on the front line would be Ben Arfa, whose defender deplores the individualistic attitude, particularly noticeable during the match against Marseille which ended in a draw (0-0) while the Marseille team had played close to 'half an hour at 9 to 11.

Is his future still in Bordeaux?

This “egoism” does not appear for the first time in the career of Ben Arfa who, in difficulty, often tends to play her soloist rather than conductor.

Nevertheless, last weekend, Gasset had to take the bull by the horns by deciding to start the young (19) Tom Lacoux instead of a replacement Ben Arfa.

A way for the coach to buy some social peace?

Possible, but perhaps not only in view of this declaration: "I composed my starting team with players who could wear the colors of the Girondins de Bordeaux high and who will be there next year."

At the end of the contract next June, even if he has an option to extend for an additional year, does the former Lyonnais already imagine himself elsewhere?

In the meantime, it would be well advised, to develop its power of attraction, to regain some of its brilliance, disappeared since the passage in 2021. The reunion this Wednesday (9:00 pm) with PSG, his former club from 2016 to 2018 where it has known very dark hours, can perhaps ring the alarm clock of the native of Clamart, who had been good in the first leg, at the Parc des Princes (2-2) at the end of November.

“Hatem is not in great shape, his return from injury is difficult,” admitted Bordeaux sports director Alain Roche before the meeting, “but there is not just him in this team.

We have an attack at half mast.

The numbers are there: it's the 16th in L1.

It means something.

Let's not talk about a single player ”.

But it is not easy when the said player is called Ben Arfa and that throughout his career, he has raised great hopes, always quickly disappointed ...

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Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2021-03-02

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