Ben Arfa set to miss all Toon Christmas games

NEWCASTLE manager Alan Pardew is expecting to be without Hatem Ben Arfa for the Toon's three Christmas games in seven days.

Ben Arfa seemingly aggravated a hamstring injury in the defeat at Fulham earlier in the month after missing the Magpies' previous four games and was absent from Saturday's loss to Manchester City as a precaution against more damage.

And Pardew is still inclined not to risk turning the niggle into a long-term problem. He said: "Hatem looks like he is going to miss the next two or three with the injury he has got. We can't risk him."

The Magpies, who host QPR on Saturday and then go to Manchester United and Arsenal and are also currently without players of the calibre of Steven Taylor and Yohan Cabaye, have slipped to 15th in the table. However, they remain 8-1 to be relegated and 11-10 shots to beat QPR. Ramgers, who won for the first time in the Premier League on Saturday against Fulham and are unbeaten in four games under Harry Redknapp, are 12-5 to leave St James' Park with a point and 11-4 to take all three.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is talking about resting starlet Raheem Sterling and young summer signing from Swansea Joe Allen at some stage of the festive period. The Reds are 8-13 shots to beat Fulham at Anfield in Saturday's early evening live game though.

Match in Focus

11:00 Su 2Oct SS5

Valencia v Atl Madrid

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Atletico have scored in their last nine games against Valencia
Expert verdict
It’s been a tough fixture schedule for Atletico Madrid with matches against Barcelona and Bayern Munich but Diego Simeone’s side are robust enough to battle their way through fatigue to see off average Valencia. Atletico have conceded twice in eight games this term and usually need only one goal for victory.

 

Competitions

Whether it's the Johnstone's Paint Trophy or the Champions League, Soccerbase will ensure you don't experience a big cup upset

Teams

Agonising over Aberdeen?
Yearning for Yeovil? Our database is crammed with every football club you could possibly wish for

Players

A plethora of players ranging from Adebayor to Zamora. All you need to know to find out who is the best bet to score next

Referees

Card-happy control freak?
Astute arbiter? Make the right decision on any referee with the help of our specialist pages

Managers

From Allardyce to Zola, our massive manager database, with histories and win ratios, is sure to get your vote of confidence