HATEM Ben Arfa produced a quite stunning piece of footballing brilliance yesterday that might, just might, end up helping Newcastle United qualify for the Champions League next season.
Footballers these days are labelled geniuses if they can proficiently kick the ball with either foot.
However, the G word would not be an over-the-top description of this individual effort which will live long in the memory of all those who witnessed it.
The importance of the moment, which finally broke the deadlock of a match which had no score draw written over it in 100- foot letters, only helped to assure its immediate legendary status.
This morning, Newcastle are only in fifth place because of Tottenham’s better goal difference, and sit two points clear of Chelsea.
They did not even have to play well to achieve this lofty position.
No wonder manager Alan Pardew punched the air at the final whistle.
It was on 72 minutes when Ben Arfa collected a pass from Yohan Cabaye, with his back to goal and deep inside his own half.
Instead of taking a touch or laying the ball back, a feature of the game up until then for him and his team-mates, the 25-year-old clearly had suffered enough frustration and opted to back-heel on the turn to completely bamboozle Bolton defender Sam Rickets.
He then raced 70 yards with astonishing speed and the ball stuck to his left foot, during which time he rode a tackle from Mark Davies, chipped the ball past last defender David Wheater and then produced an ice-cool finish as he slid the ball past Adam Bogdan in Bolton’s goal into the bottom corner of the net.
On such moments can a season’s fortunes change.
Up until then, Newcastle had huffed and puffed to little effect and were even slightly fortunate to still be on level terms.
However, this was to be Newcastle’s day. Again.
The joy was complete when Papiss Cisse scored what has become his customary goal with eight minutes remaining to wrap up the points.
However, up until the opener, Bolton’s tactics had been working a a treat.
They allowed their hosts no space in the middle of the park and, as the afternoon wore on, manager Pardew looked the most frustrated man on earth.