On this day in 2012, Hatem Ben Arfa scored a brilliant solo goal as Newcastle United beat Bolton Wanderers 2-0 and closed in on a Champions League spot. The French international picked up the ball with his back to goal in his own half and ran two-thirds of the pitch before slotting coolly past Adam Bogdan.
Papiss Cisse doubled the score after converting Shola Ameobi’s cross, but the game will be remembered for Ben Arfa’s moment of magic. The ‘problematic’ winger was capable of being a match-winner, but he was wildly inconsistent and was accused of being ‘impossible to manage’ by Alan Pardew.
After the Bolton win, Newcastle were level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham while being only two points adrift of third-placed Chelsea. Unfortunately, United didn’t manage to end the season in a Champions League spot and had to settle for fifth place.
It was still Newcastle’s best finish in the Premier League since the late Sir Bobby Robson steered United to third place in 2002/03, but there would have been some disappointment over how they tailed off in the run-in after being so close.