Written by Mean Lean on Monday, 11 February 2013 15:42
So the cuddly Brazilian Andre Santos has left the building during his second season at the club. It is remarkable how quickly things change in football. Arsenal fans wept into their hands when Santos suffered a long term injury at Olympaicos last season. Santos had been afforded the luxury of shaking off early season rust and also adapting to a new league and team mates. After a difficult start, he became stronger and stronger as is often the case when players get into the momentum of playing regular football.
His Arsenal career was all but ended by that Champions League injury and he had to start all over again. He did score that all important goal in the final game of last season at West Brom which helped us stay above those lot from down the road. But he had already lost his place to Kieran Gibbs and there was going to be no way back.
Andre Santos like Andrey Arshavin didn't seem blessed with natural physique which could explain the need for a run of matches before his best was shown. Another issue Santos had was his partnership with the player ahead of him. Last season he had Gervinho who tended to stick wide and go past players on the outside, this allowed Santos to drift inside which he tended to enjoy doing. I jokingly called him the false 3 which now seems like a reasonable assessment, because Andre Santos is no traditional left back. This season he had Lukas Podolski ahead of him and Lukas liked to drift into goal scoring positions but Santos was never willing or able to run outside him.
How many times did we see both Podolski and Santos arguing with each other about something or other on the pitch. Naturally they did not work well, unlike the great partnership between Gibbs and Podolski.
Needless to say the shirt swap situation at half time with that bloke did not help his cause and it was ever since that day, Santos featured very little. He has been described as the worst player to pull on the Arsenal shirt and surely to have that opinion you must not have watched Arsenal for very long. He was the wrong type of player for our system and he lacked the same fight players like Sagna, Vermaelen and Koscielny have.
It is a little odd to have two left backs who play completely differently, it means that should the need arise to swap players then it impacts how the rest of the team play around them. The arrival of Monreal has changed that problem as he looks like a player who can run all day as well as stick wide.
I wish Santos all the best and hopefully he can play a blinder and make a club pay up some shekels for his services in the summer.
So where does that leave us now? We have one player injured for a good (bad) few weeks, we have a new boy who cannot play against Bayern Munich and we have a center back who at a push can play left back but is suffering with injury. It is a shame that young Jernade Meade is also fighting back from injury because the Blackburn game would have given him a chance to show what he is capable of just as he did earlier in the Champions League this season.
I just hope that Thomas Vermaelen and also Laurent Koscielny can stay fully fit from now until the end of the season because with Johan Djourou out on loan we do not have a great deal of options with three competitions coming thick and fast.
Right, that is that for left backs, was going to talk about Jack Wilshere and getting kicked but I have run out of time, so enjoy the rest of your day.