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Andre Santos – An Ideal Replacement

Ever since the departure of Ashley Cole, Arsenal have never had an ideal replacement for the England international.

He was replaced with a talented and error prone Frenchman Gael Clichy, Clichy  had very good pace which went well with his defending and in his last couple of years at Arsenal he improved as a defender, but Clichy was never an ideal replacement to Ashley Cole, he never offered the defensive stability and the attacking prowess the England international possessed.

He had a few world class moments in the form of the assist he provided to Robin Van Persie against Barcelona at the Emirates in 2011, the goal was arguably one of the best goal the Emirates Stadium has ever seen. Without these moments Clichy is largely a mediocre footballer who had a very shy presence in the attack and who was not so confident while defending as well; the way he cleared the ball during set pieces, largely proves my point.

His refusal to sign a new deal at Arsenal was a blessing in disguise for the Gunners because he was never an ideal replacement to Ashley Cole. With his departure Arsene Wenger made a £6 million pound move for the Brazil international left back Andre Santos, and the Brazilian has so far been impressive for the Gunners except for the fact that his speed and defending is poor which is mostly because he is adjusting to the rigorous demands of English football.

His dominant display in the attack has brought a certain level of confidence amongst the Gunners, this was evident in the game against Chelsea, Santos kept the ball well and was often found drifting in the midfield with confidence and relative ease allowing Gervinho and Ramsey, who occasionally found space from the left flank, to break the Chelsea defence. His goal in that game showed us how he exposed Jose Bosingwa in the counter attack, when the Portugal international was caught out of his place.

Arsenal could never expect all of this from their former left back Gael Clichy, the Frenchman would have allowed more space for Chelsea to attack from, and he would have rarely ventured forward to support the attack and create problems for Chelsea in the way Santos did.  With all that said and a little more expected, I would conclude by saying, Andre Santos will turn out to be the ideal replacement for Ashley Cole.



  1. Paul

    November 5, 2011 at 3:04 am

    His defending has been the worst I have seen from a full back in a long time and he is clearly overweight and not fit enough to be playing. Yes he’s good going forward but he could have cost 10 goals in the last two games through getting caught upfield or making pathetic tackles.
    I hope he gets better and haven’t given up but no way is he looking like a good buy at the moment let alone a replacement for Cole. Agree that it was time for that panic merchant Clichy to go though.

    • eddie

      November 5, 2011 at 8:22 am

      We must be watching a different Santos from you!

  2. Anne

    November 5, 2011 at 4:23 am

    I agree with oalmastri. Santos has done extremely well considering he never had any pre season with us and it is his first year in the premiership. You can see that the talent is there, we just need to give him time to get fitter and more adjusted to this league.

  3. matchfacts

    November 5, 2011 at 6:39 am

    There have been a few good articles out this week regarding the various types of fullbacks employed in modern football. I think people misjudge Santos as he comes in the form most do not expect, however he is very much modern day full back, similar to the role of Danny Alves. a Winger who can also defend, the ultimate Brazilian full back, (not the typical European attacking wing back. Santos is brilliant in one on one defending, though currently off the pace and lacks match sharpness. all of which will come over time. The Brazilian full back role is key to the success of Barcelona, and Real Madrid teams, Inter with Maicon in his prime, Lam with Germany and Bayern. All great teams need this type of player to succeed. Fact.

  4. Emeka

    November 5, 2011 at 7:46 am

    All i know is that santos is far better than clichy any time any day. Fact

  5. jojo

    November 6, 2011 at 7:06 am

    this is a good article. Most of the time I cringe watching Santos pulling out a trick or two, afraid of a silly mistake and hoping not to get punished. But watching him play is also a pleasure, the way he handles the ball with confidence and goes forward with it. I’m not an expert in football but i feel defending wise he’s pretty good, the way he shadows his opponents and hurls into tackles but either way he can do better. Santos deserves more credit. He’s new in England yet his presence already brings more depth into Arsenal’s play. I’m sure next season he’ll be much better just look at Koscielny now.

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