Arguably the club’s best continental import of the last five years, he has suddenly become decidedly ORDINARY.
Why? Only he and Alan Pardew know the answer.
There have been rumours that he isn't grafting in training; he has put on weight; he has fallen out with the manager; etc, so where does he go from here?
The 26-year-old has made most of his appearances this season from the bench, and hasn’t scored since the 2-1 defeat of Aston Villa back in September. One of just two goals this season.
Brought on with about 20 minutes to go against Southampton, he is the perfect player to give the team a lift, with fresh legs and a fabulous turn of pace.
But it isn't happening for him.
Ben Arfa continues to frustrate as a character on the sidelines.
He didn’t look sharp and missed the opportunity to hit the target from the edge of the box and later, after running down a blind alley, his lost ball resulted in the returning Massimo Haidara to take a hit.
For the Toon to become genuine contenders for Europe, Pardew needs to get the best out of his "marquee players" (as he calls them) and the elusive Ben Arfa is a major cog in the machine.