Newcastle United jet off to Athens for their Europa League qualifier first leg against Atromitos today, but one man won’t be on the plane. Star midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa is banned.
The 25-year old who scored Toon’s winning goal in their 2-1 win over Spurs at the weekend is serving a three-match UEFA suspension from his time at Marseille.
Hatem was sent off in Marseille’s 2-1 home defeat by Benfica in March 2010, the last time he took to the field in a European club competition. Ben Arfa misses the two legs against Atromitos and will also miss Newcastle’s first game of the group stages if and when the Magpies qualify.
However, there was a chance that the Frenchman would be rested on Thursday, with a trip to Chelsea less than 48 hours later. Newcastle’s trip to Athens is live and exclusive on Premier Sports in the UK.
Hopefully Hatem will be fresh to showcase his skills in the battle of the showboaters on Sunday. It’s Hatem V Hazard.
Howay The Lads.
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