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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Hughton reveals Ben Arfa operation a success

Newcastle United playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa has undergone a successful operation on the broken leg he suffered in the club's defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, according to Magpies boss Chris Hughton.

• Dutch drop De Jong
• Kidd defends City star

Ben Arfa was the victim of a strong tackle from City midfielder Nigel de Jong during the 2-1 loss at Eastlands, a challenge that has drawn much criticism and cost the Dutchman a place in the latest Netherlands squad.

Newcastle revealed on their official website that Ben Arfa underwent surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary on Monday, and Hughton admitted that while the procedure was successful, he is "devastated" to lose the services of his star player.

"I am absolutely devastated for Hatem," Hughton said. "To get injured at any time is bad enough, but to suffer such a horrendous injury as a double leg break is sickening for the lad.

"After playing only a handful of games for us, scoring a cracking goal at Everton and doing fantastically well, it's a cruel and devastating blow for Hatem, and for the club as a whole.

"All the lads are devastated for him as well. I know many of them have already been in touch with him to check he's doing okay, and that's great.

"On the plus side I am delighted to hear from the hospital that the operation this morning was successful and now it's just a case of nursing him back to fitness.

"Hatem's a smashing lad with great character and bags of determination, and with the help of our medical team and backroom staff, I am sure he will make a full and speedy recovery. I'll be visiting Hatem later today. 'Get well soon' is the message from everyone at the club."

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