Post-Man Utd Ramblings and Andre Santos the Scapegoat
For some strange reason, I wasn’t surprised by Saturday’s disappointing result in
Hades Old Trafford. The stats were certainly against the Gunners as Arsene Wenger’s men have put up appalling displays in the Theater of Dreams (*spits*) in the past and one can look no further than the humiliating capitulation the Gunners suffered last season.
The game had barely settled when another Thomas Vermaelen error (sighs) allowed Robin van Persie to blast the ball home, giving the hosts the edge early on. Unlike Emmanuel Greedybayor, van Persie “respectfully” failed to celebrate his goal, with both hands on the air, pleading to the Arsenal faithful.
Looking at both ends of the scale leading to Man Utd’s first goal, it’s fair to point out that despite being the new captain of the club, the Verm has been disappointing this campaign, and his errors have proved very costly for his team this season. As Arseblogger rightly pointed out, had other centre-halves made the mistake he did on Saturday for the van Persie goal they would have been slaughtered by Arsene Wenger, a manager with an iron fist wearing a velvet glove.
As the No. 1 football citizen of the club, Vermaelen needs to spur on his team with inspiring performances and I can bet that watching that goal go in that early took the steam off the lads as the game progressed.
Van Persie on the other hand, was a constant threat to his former employers and it took just three minutes to show the Gunners what they let go for footballing reasons. I’m certainly in no mood to open up healing wounds but seeing van Persie excel in a rival team while his replacement, Olivier Giroud, is still struggling is a very bitter pill to swallow.
After the game, van Persie stated that he didn’t want to celebrate his goal to antagonize the Arsenal faithful but when Arsene Wenger was asked about his take on RvP’s goal, he humbly stated that he doesn’t give two fledgling fucks, putting it mildly,
“Honestly, that doesn’t bother me at all. That doesn’t matter. What you want is to win the game. You don’t care about who scores in their team. What is most important is that you don’t make a mistake at the back and you don’t give chances away.”
The gaffer also spoke about Jack Wilshere’s red card, claiming that it was unlucky. This season, Premier League referees have come under the spotlight for the decisions they make on the pitch but like the 11 players on the field, many refs have struggled with consistency as well.
I’m not going to defend Wilshere because he was warned a couple of times but his rustiness got the better of him as Patrice Evra robbed him off the ball before getting scythed down shortly afterwards.
However, Manchester United’s Tom Cleverley was in a somewhat similar situation to Wilshere in terms of walking on a tight rope after getting a booking and Sir Alex Ferguson wasted no time in replacing him with that T-Pain wannabe, Anderson. Wenger had the option of taking Wilshere out for Francis Coquelin, but with the Gunners trailing, Wilshere’s qualities were needed on the pitch but it was not to be, I guess.
Then there’s the issue of Arsenal’s toothless attack.
With Gervinho and the Ox out injured, Arsenal has become thin bare in terms of attacking personnel and it’s really disheartening to see the lack of cohesion among the front three in recent games.
Lukas Podolski has struggled for form and fitness, Aaron Ramsey’s outing on the right is rapidly becoming a failed experiment, Theo Walcott is still finding it hard to command a first team berth and Giroud has failed to hit the ground running.
The Frenchman had half chances to bring Arsenal back into the game but he failed to capitalize on them, meanwhile, van Persie wasted no time in burying the very first chance he had.
That shows you the big picture, doesn’t it?
However, Giroud has already fixed his sights on tomorrow’s game against Schalke 04 in Gersenkirchen, stating that his team should forget the critics and get in shape for the game against the German outfit. As always, Giroud knows how to get himself into very dangerous positions but he really needs to improve on his finishing, because he really sucks in that department.
To think that he slammed in 21 goals in Ligue 1?
Finally, I’m going to voice my opinion on this humorous incident involving Andre Santos and van Persie in the stroke of halftime.
When Kieran Gibbs started every game at the beginning of the season, Andre Santos spent a considerable amount of time on the bench, which afforded him the time to execute a Grand Theft Auto speeding stunt that saw his Driver’s License revoked for the best part of one year.
Gibbs was part of that brilliant early season back four that kept consecutive clean sheets and put up stellar defensive performances, which in turn caused the players, fans, club and media vultures alike to wax lyrical about the defensive Dark Lord, Steve Bouldimort.
With Gibbs out injured nursing a thigh strain, Andre Santos was awarded with a golden chance to stake a claim for the No. 3 jersey but his outing against Schalke 04 was very atrocious. He didn’t do too well against Norwich and QPR either but a game of this magnitude required top-notch concentration levels.
As expected, the match opener arrived from Andre Santos’ flank when Antonio Valencia and Rafael connected well before drilling in the cross that was enough to put the Gunners to the sword.
When we taught that we had seen it all, Andre Santos couldn’t even wait for van Persie to enter the tunnel before requesting for his jersey, as that was his problem at that point, rather than reflecting on a poor first half he had.
This act caused an outrage on Twitter and the Brazilian left back was on the end of some harsh tweets from Arsenal fans as well as recognized journos.
Understand Arsenal fans anger about Santos getting RVP's shirt at half-time. Summed up the display. What next? Asking for an autograph?—
Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) November 04, 2012
Even ex-Gunner, Ray Parlour, got in on the act,
“That’s a joke. I wouldn’t have that. At half-time? He should be concentrating on his game and he was having a nightmare.”
“He can’t play in a back four as he gets caught out of position all the time.”
In fairness to Andre Santos, the entire Arsenal team pretty much sucked on Saturday (with the exception of Vito Mannone, I guess) but the backlash of his actions could have further ramifications in the future.
According to the Mirror, the Samba Boy has been heavily linked with a move to Turkey, and I see the Gunners cashing in on the maverick if the right offer comes. Besides, Arsenal is not a selling club, but a trading club.
This excellent article by Poznan in my Pants will give you more clarification on my last sentence.
Maybe it’s just me, but Andre Santos has clearly shown that he cannot be Arsenal’s left back for the long term. With Kieran Gibbs’ injury demons catching up with him yet again, it wouldn’t be a bad idea cashing in on Andre Santos to get an established left back like Leighton Baines.
But as the saying goes – Arsene Knows Best.
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