Newcastle news

Ben Arfa returns for Newcastle

March 6, 2013
By Kristan Heneage

Newcastle have named Hatem Ben Arfa in their squad for Thursday's Europa League game away to Anzhi Makhachkala.

Premier League
PA PhotosBen Arfa has struggled with injury for much of this season

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Ben Arfa, 25, has not featured since the 2-1 defeat against Fulham in December. Although his return is a boost for the Magpies, manager Alan Pardew will be without Senegalese striker Papiss Cisse because of illness.

Newcastle midfielder Jonas Gutierrez has said Newcastle will face a tough task against a strong Anzhi team at the Luzhniki stadium.

"This is going to be a really hard game," he told the Evening Chronicle. "When you go through in this type of competition, you know that any games you play are going to be hard at this stage.

"You also know that, when you go away, it's more difficult. We have to be really compact and we must know that, in the first 20 minutes of the first and second half, they are going to try and score quickly to try and put us on the back foot.

"Their fans are going to want to score quickly, and we need to be prepared for that. The most important thing for us again is to not concede. If we can get an away goal, then we have a big advantage to bring back to Newcastle."

With Fabricio Coloccini also missing the game following a back injury, Yohan Cabaye will again captain Newcastle and Gutierrez said: "He's a really fantastic player - he has got a lot of international experience.

"It is fantastic for us as a football club to have a player like Cabaye leading us."