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The new ones: A goal scoring left back or a striking defender?

By Walter Broeckx

Arsenal brought in some new players in August. The word was out very soon by those who pretend to know a bit about football: all we had bought was utterly rubbish. So we continue to look at how bad they are.

Let us look at the new left back, now sadly injured, Andre Santos. When he came over from Fenerbahce at the last day of the transfer window I must confess I didn’t know that much about him. But he played for the Brazilian national team and that is not a bad reference. He played very well form them in the year before the WC took place when they won the Confederations Cup. He missed the world cup after being late on the players bus as the story goes and as a result Brazil went out the world cup I think.

Yet just as in Fenerbahce he also took the spot of that famous left back Roberto Carlos and made it his own.

He won the title and cup with Fenerbahce and also won a few cups and silverware in Brazil before that. But afterwards it was discovered that Fenerbahce won their title not just on the pitch but also seemed to have had a few things done under the table.  Santos left the Turkish club and came to the Arsenal.

His first real game was one to forget as quickly as possible. The Blackburn defeat was painful to watch. And the AAA thought they had a new victim or scapegoat to aim their frustrations at. If you only read some of them and did not see the games you would have thought that we had bought not just a lousy left back but also an overweight left back. With each comment he got fatter and fatter. Maybe people should realise that not all players are slim of their own nature. And some people are more robustly built than others.  Yes Santos is rather robust but what is the problem with that as long as he is fit and can run?

The word was out soon that he could not really defend. And his first game at Blackburn was not the best way of letting us know that he could defend. Too fat and not a defender was the final verdict. He was put on the bench for the Bolton game.

But in the next game he started against Olympiacos he showed a bit of his Turkish background and scored a good goal to help us win the game. And his defending improved a lot. And after that he was put on the bench for the Tottenham defeat. And he also started on the bench against Sunderland but then Gibbs got injured and he got another chance of showing who he really is. Keeping a clean sheet at Marseille to help us win. And helping us to a 3-1 win against Stoke.

The came the Chelsea game in which his first half was not that great. But he came out the second half as a completely different player. He scored a good goal, his second in just a few starts, and got the better of each player Chelsea threw at him. Only a not given foul on Santos handed Chelsea another goal.

Since then he just looked better and better. Keeping our unbeaten run in CL and PL going with only 3 goals against us in the last 6 games.

His defending is not bad at all. He sometimes loses out to his man the first time in a game but he has the ability to grow in the game. It is as if he is inviting his opponent to have a go at him, let him win the first duel so the striker thinks he can trick him again but then Santos is ready and prepared and doesn’t let him go again.

Santos is a very confident player. If you see him on the pitch he sometimes does things that make your heart skip a beat. With his Brazilian flair and technical ability he sometimes overdoes the trickery a bit but so far no major catastrophe has happened after Santos has played a trick pass to one of his team mates. And when such a trick comes of it sure does feels great. It can look arrogant at times but it is just a matter of Brazilian confidence and mentality I think. Why bother for a simple pass when you can trick the ball to a teammate?

What also feels great is the fact that Santos knows where the other goal is. Scoring 2 goals in just a handful of games is great return for a left back. We finally have a goal scoring left back in our team again. Something we had been missing since Cole followed the money route. I liked Clichy a lot but for the moment I do feel very happy with Santos and the way he plays.

Santos may not be a long life Gooner like Mertesacker but he did say it was his dream to play in one of the big leagues in Europe and with his chance at Arsenal his dream became a reality. So I do think that he is a player that is really happy to put on the Arsenal shirt each time. And if you look at him he is really enjoying himself on the football pitch. Playing in a team that plays the beautiful game like Arsenal does. Would he enjoy himself playing for Stoke? I don’t think so. Another typical Brazilian attitude I think.

13 games played and 13 goals conceded so far. Again 7 of those goals came in 2 matches. Which means 6 goals conceded in the other 11 games. And the most important thing is that since a month we only conceded one goal at the most in a game.

So another player that has lived in a hotel for the first weeks and is now only starting to settle down for live in London. And the longer he has settled down the better he is starting to look. And after his settling down he has not let his team down in his games and I think we can now see that he not only can attack and score goals but also when it comes to defending he is more than capable of turning in a nice shift. And putting his leg in the way when it is needed and it was needed in that first minute at Wigan.

We got a left back that can defend, score and play the beautiful game. Not a bad thing to have I think.


Follow us on Twitter @Untold Arsenal

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“Making the Arsenal”is available on Amazon, Arsenal on line, the Woolwich Arsenal site and in the Arsenal store.

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28 comments to The new ones: A goal scoring left back or a striking defender?

  • pete chowdry

    He is definitely the unsung hero imo. He has slotted straight in and given the circumstances has done very well. nice post walter.

  • Mahdain

    timing of this article is really ominous….the club has said he will need surgery to repair ligament damage in his right ankle and is expected to be out for three months…not good

  • Mayur

    The latest on Santos is that we wont see him for 3 months!

  • rusty

    Hopefully Gibbs will be back soon and string a couple months together of injury-free time…

    But when Santos is back, I have to say he’s certainly going to press Gibbs for first choice at the position.

  • Mahdain

    @rusty tbh any of our injured fullbacks coming back will be a big boost…heard jenks is the closest atm and am really hoping its really soon

  • Sammy The Snake

    Get well soon, my new friend.

  • Mahdain

    the referee appointments are out and guess who will ref our match vs city? *drum rolls*

  • Mahdain

    yep its the inconquerable Phil Dowd….i know he was ok vs norwich but it is still phil fat dowd…really hoping he doesnt return to his last season antics against us

  • Mandy dodd

    That is incredible, we get dean, dowd or Webb every week. It seems
    On santos, I have loved watching him, real shame about the injury, from top what you are saying, pretty much a season ender or thereabouts

  • nicky

    We can’t do anything but accept the absense of Santos for 3 months. Fortunately, the back division can be jiggled around to accommodate a most unlucky injury list. Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Santos. On the plus side, we at least have the incomparable
    Vermaelen up and running, with Mertesacker bedding in very nicely. Occasional viewing of young Miquel suggest we have a real defender in the making, so all is not doom and gloom.

  • Mahdain

    to cheer up all you guys is our low IQ neighbours making a total fool of themselves…they have been hurling abuse at olimpic cyclist chris hoy thinking its chris foy…and just when i thought they couldnt make themselves look more of fools than they already are lool

  • Sammy The Snake

    High praise from the Guardian! I quote, copy & paste:

    A good volley is a thing of beauty

    There are plenty of good reasons to hate football. The diving; players snot-rocketing and wiping their noses on their jerseys in front of the camera; the ever-burgeoning breed of hypersensitive fans; Cristiano Ronaldo’s stance before taking a free-kick; the imaginary card waving; the lack of loyalty; the cliché-ridden post-match interview; Alan Shearer; Fifa; Chelsea away jerseys. The list goes on. But then, all of a sudden, a moment of unsullied beauty appears and you are reminded why you loved the game in the first place.

    Robin van Persie’s volley against Everton was one such moment. The volley is the sculpted Armani model of the goal world: an item of rare beauty. And he’s done it before too. It makes you forget about all those other goals. The beating of a few players? The backheel? The diving header? Pah! We’ve seen those executed on a Thursday night at Powerleague. Anyone can do those. But the volley? No way. To do it perfectly, as Van Persie did on Saturday, you have to be good – Gabby Hayes good.

    Like the creation of a universe, all the elements have to be in the right place at just the right moment. So rare do these elements combine that volleys generally result in the ball skirting off the shin, over the roof of the stand and bouncing down the road, a new toy for an opportunistic passerby. But when they do come off, sit back and enjoy them. They will restore your faith in football and help to ward off those nightmares riddled by luminous jerseys and inflated egos. IMc

  • Big shame for Santos. Hoopefully Gibbs’ hernia problem won’t keep him out too long. Vermaelen will do well enough for now but it might limit us if we lose a centre-back to injury or suspension.

  • Arvind

    Super stuff.. Sammy. And its true. And RVP’s Charlton goal is surely surely one of the greatest ever.

  • WalterBroeckx

    A real blow for Santos and for Arsenal this injury. If needed we put Coquelin at left back just like we did with Flamini in 2006

  • Fedda

    Santos is a decent player. No more than that. He lacks a lot in the tactical side and is too often out of position. Arteta/Song has to cover the left side and we therefore leave room in the middle. He is very good offensively, but struggles tracking back sometimes. That said, 1on1 he has been immense. He is getting better game by game. A big shame we have lost him to injury.

  • sahil

    Just when i was starting to think we might be lucky after all on the injury front

  • Fedda

    Phil Dowd is appointed ref City – Arsenal this Sunday. Might aswell rest our first 11.

  • dan

    I Really think Santos will grow with the fans, half a season in and I think he has done a great job.

    Watch this space.

  • dan

    Watching the Chelsea vs Man shitty game, is it me or does the Chavz back-line look real bad? Or is it the midfield is non existent?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Just seen bits and pieces of the first half and if Clattenburg would have been a man both teams would haven been down to 10 man by now. Toure and Mereiles should have been off…

  • bjtgooner

    @Walter

    Cliche is off and Kompany is lucky he is still on!

  • bjtgooner

    @Walter

    I meant Clichy (back to school!)

  • WalterBroeckx

    WE ARE THE INVICBLES!!!! WE ARE THE ARSENAL!!!
    F$$k you mercenaries money can buy you a lot but not everything

  • WalterBroeckx

    I have never seen Arsenal.com changing the league table that fast on a monday evening to put a 1 under the lost games of Sh$tt$. LOL 🙂 🙂

  • goonergerry

    I think Walter is right-Santos he was unfit when we bought him- and carrying a bit extra -yes but he is still a great player-A Brazilian international- amazing for 6m. I think he is a great all round footballer. I’d love to have him on the field against City.
    It is a tragedy that he is out for 3 months. Hope he makes a full recovery.
    Hey Walter- will your comments be removed because they are not related to the post? Authors privileges perhaps?
    Whilst we are off topic did anyone listen to 606 this week?- according to them Arsenal would only get 3 current first team players into a best of North London team. A caller was getting ridiculed for suggesting that the 24 year old Alex Song was a better prospect than 31 year old Scotty Parker. Its great when the mighty Spurs lose to Stoke the next day and then City those nailed on EPL certainties lose as well a day later- AFTER the easy ride given to them by the media after getting their arses kicked out of Europe this week.
    OK we might only be laughing until Sunday- but its been a huge pre-christmas lift- and we are still in the Champions League.

  • Northbanker

    Santos was becoming a vital element in our team and I’m quite gutted he’s out for so long

    It means with so many serious injuries to all of our full backs we have to buy in January. If we have serious aspirations this year then we cannot rely on makeshift defenders. jan Vertonghen would be top of my list given his versatility at CB LB DM. That along with a serious contender in attack for RVP would really help us to have a decent chance at winning silverware.

    AW must learn the lessons from previous mistakes and not just rely on the youth team offspring to come up with all of the answers

  • Micko

    @ Mahdain, Mandy Dodd
    We get Dowd for Sunday’s game and Fergie gets his Webb dream team away at QPR ;(
    That’s 7 times out of the first 15 matches that we’ve had either Webb, Dean or Dowd. What are the odds on that happening in ‘real life’.