Ben Arfa desperate for derby win at Sunderland to kick-start Newcastle's season
17:13 GMT, 20 October 2012
Hatem Ben Arfa is hoping derby victory at Sunderland can belatedly kick-start Newcastle's season.
The Magpies head for the Stadium of Light on Sunday having won only two of their seven Barclays Premier League games this season to date, and although they have lost just two, they are struggling to find the consistent form which catapulted them into fifth place at the end of the last campaign.
However, a 1-0 derby victory on Wearside in August last year proved the catalyst for that surge up the table, and France international Ben Arfa is looking for a similar boost this weekend.
Eyes on the prize: Hatem Ben Arfa wants to snatch victory at Sunderland to get Newcastle's season going
He said: 'We are confident because we know we have very good players in our squad. That's why we are confident.
'In the Premier League, we have to win to get more confidence. In the last few games, we didn't take a lot of points.
'We have to get our confidence back. We have to win consecutive games to have high confidence.
'We have very good players. On the pitch, everyone wants to do very well in this game.
'All the fans want to play this game, but they can't, and we going to give all our energy for this game.'
Ben Arfa has had only one taste of the derby experience during his time on Tyneside, coming on as a half-time substitute in the 1-1 draw at St James' Park in March to spark a fightback which helped his team come from behind to snatch a point.
As a result, the visit to the Stadium of Light will be his first, although the 25-year-old has been left in little doubt as to what to expect.
He said: 'Everyone in the club, even in the kitchen, has told me, 'Now you have to score' and 'Now you have to win'.
'It's the biggest game for Newcastle
this season. For the last week, every time I go into town, people have
talked just about this game.
looking forward to playing this game. I'm very happy to play this game.
I'm sure every player wants to win this game for the fans.
'Last year, I played one half. I felt the atmosphere was very great, not like other games.
Final preparations: Ben Arfa and Newcastle readied themselves for the trip to the Stadium of Light
Last time out: Newcastle were well beaten at Manchester United before the international break
'I have never played in Sunderland before, so I will see what happens there, but I think it's going to be very hard.
'The fans from Sunderland are going to make a lot of noise.'
If Newcastle have largely failed to scale the heights they reached last season so far this time around, the same cannot be said of Ben Arfa, who has produced a series of electric displays to light up St James'.
He is the only Magpies man other than
striker Demba Ba to find the back of the net in a league game, scoring
the winner from the penalty spot against Tottenham on the opening day of
the season and a stunning equaliser against Aston Villa on September 2.
would dearly love to add to his tally this weekend in a game which
rivals the intensity of the showdown between Paris St Germain and former
club Marseille in his native country.
said: 'It's a similar atmosphere, but I think it's more intense here
because the cities are next to each other. I think it's amazing here.'
are likely to be boosted by the return of first-choice central
defenders Fabricio Coloccini and Steven Taylor from injury, while keeper
Tim Krul is also in contention after working his way back from an elbow
Danger man: Steven Fletcher has been in exceptional form since signing for Sunderland this summer