Position : Left-Back
Nation : Brazil
2011/2012 Appearances : 21 (6 as sub)
Signed from Fenerbahce on deadline day during the summer, Andre Santos has had a mixed first season at the Emirates. The ever-smiling Brazilian, has faced spells on the sidelines due to injury, yet managed 21 first team appearances.
He made his Gunners’ debut in the puzzling 4-3 loss at Blackburn. Far too many times, Santos seemed caught out, by Blackburn’s wingers, Hoilett and Olsson. He would however, score a goal in his very next game, a Champions League fixture against Olympiakos. He struggled defensively again, as the Gunners held nervously on to a 2-1 win.
He featured in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Marseille, and despite some slack defending, which got him a yellow card, there was improvement to be seen in his defensive play. Kieran Gibbs suffered an injury in the game against Stoke, and Santos was thrust into the first team. Despite a poor first half against Chelsea, where he made numerous attacking forays, he put in a disciplined second half display, and also scored the Gunners’ second goal early in the second half.
Santos put in good disciplined performances against West Brom, Norwich, Dortmund, Fulham, and Wigan as Arsenal had a productive November. However, he suffered an ankle injury which kept him out for a good part of 3 months.
He would return as a sub in the league game against Aston Villa, where he very nearly gifted Villa a goal. He again came on as a sub against Manchester City, where he was involved in an incident with Mario Balotelli. He made his first start since his return from injury against Wolves, where Arsenal coasted to an easy win. But, the Brazilian looked suspect when he faced winger Michael Kightly. Santos featured in the Gunners’ lacklustre draw at home to Wigan. Though rarely troubled, he put in a good shift attack wise, though not able to carve out any clear cut opportunities.
The Brazilian would start Arsenal’s last game of the season against West Brom, where he scored a vital goal, in the first half as the Gunners held on to a 3-2 win to seal 3rd spot.
Here’s a look at some features of Andre Santos‘ game.
Though we haven’t got to see much of Santos, he appears to be a robust, tough-tackling defender. He ain’t the best header of the ball, and has the tendency to lose possession far too often.
Far too often, there’s been criticism of Santos, that he shuns his defensive responsibility to go forward. This has cost the team a bit, and made it more open for the opposition for counters. Moreover, Santos’ style means he has to work extra hard to bomb forward as well as track back. He can get caught too often, and if against a pacy winger, he can get unstuck. Lot of work needs to be done on the training ground, should Santos push Gibbs to earn a place in the starting line-up.
He can be a very useful winger, with an eye for goal. Pacy and well-built, he has been deployed of late as a left midfielder, late on in games.
SUMMARY AND RATING
While 15 starts may be too soon to judge a player, Santos has shown that he can be a liability as well as an asset. An improvement to the defensive side of the game, will make him a much better defender. He gets a rating of 6.5.