Football - Magpies could be hamstrung by Ben Arfa absence

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew fears he could be without key man Hatem Ben Arfa for Saturday's visit of defending Barclays Premier League champions Manchester City.

Eurosport

The winger, who returned from four games on the sidelines to score in the 2-1 defeat by Fulham on Monday night, risks missing out with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has troubled him in recent weeks.

The 25-year-old Frenchman has been a source of creativity for the Newcastle attack whenever he has played in the early months of the season.

However, his absence, along with his injured compatriot Yohan Cabaye, has robbed Newcastle of much of their spark.

Pardew knows Ben Arfa, who has been playing in a more central role than usual, would be badly missed against a City side who will be smarting from their derby defeat by Manchester United.

"They have an abundance of flair players and probably the difference between us is that," Pardew said.

"They can call on five, six or seven top, top, international flair players and we probably have three, so we are on a knife edge when they are fit and when they are not fit.

"For this game we have a bit of a concern over Hatem and whether he will be available and that is something we are looking at.

"His hamstring has a little bit of a problem and we're still trying to get to the bottom of that."

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