You almost feel like Hatem Ben Arfa’s entire time on a soccer pitch was destined to culminate in this moment. For years Ben Arfa’s career has flickered with brief moments of genius, intermittently successful attempts at squeezing through the tightest of openings and twirling past the thickest swarms of defenses, tantalizing teams and fans into believing those interstitial flashes of brilliance were like glints of gold hidden underneath the layers of muck that were the allegations of a non-existent work ethic and irritability and ego.
Every time Ben Arfa tried fighting his way through a thicket of defenders or popped a 30 yard effort on goal despite an open man streaking to his right, you imagine in his mind’s eye he envisioned what he attempted looking something like this.
For once it all came together just how he imagined, and we’re happy for him. He’ll probably use this to justify each and every subsequent attempt to go it alone when the safer path involves those other 10 guys for some reason wearing the same shirt as him, but if that’s the price his teammates pay for the chance we might see another one of these winding displays that make the commentators coo like delighted children, so be it.