Daily Archives: March 17, 2012

Park Chu-Young’s Military Service Delayed and Andre Santos: A Breath of Fresh Air

What a goal!!!!

“Andrey Arshavin invited the Bolton defense to him leaving Park Chu-Young free on the edge of the area. A simply weighted pass followed but Park scored the type of a goal that the Arsenal fans witnessed week in week out from the great Thierry Henry. It was a first time sweetly curled effort that eased past Bogdan before hitting the back of the net.”

– Culled from Arsenal 2 Bolton 1: Bend it like Park

That brilliant effort against Bolton in the Carling Cup has been all Park Chu-Young has offered to this illustrious club since making his £3.5m move from AS Monaco on transfer deadline day. He has been reduced three Carling Cup appearances, eight Premier League minutes and two Champions League appearances.

With Arsenal’s tactical set-up and Robin van Persie’s scintillating form, there was probably no way in Hell for Park to displace Arsenal’s talisman but everyone expected the Korean captain to get a handful of games when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho departed for the African Cup of Nations in January.

At the point in the winter, Park told Sky Sports that he’s primed to take his chance:

“All my team-mates are great players, I do not expect a chance for me because a player is unavailable. I will do my best to prepare myself to take any random chances at any time.”

“I am new to this club and to the Premier League. I am trying hard to learn more and more.

“I don’t worry about getting used to everything or anything. My team-mates are nice to me and I do not have any problems at all regarding training.”

Park waited for centuries for that chance but the King arrived and proved his worth in gold. Frustration from lack of first team opportunities started creeping in and his agent declared that his client could leave in the summer if his chances don’t improve.

We also learnt last year that Park was due to serve in the military in 2013. The forward stated that he can’t be excused and it’s inevitable but he thought that Arsenal would be an “incredible place to finish”. He didn’t cost a fortune but it’s just awkward to know that his Arsenal career would have been short-lived under such a circumstance.

I’m in no position to make any comment how a nation makes its laws and creeds so I wish Park the best in his future endeavors and I hope that he wouldn’t get hurt serving his fatherland.

However, the Guardian has reported that Korea’s Military Manpower Administration has stated that Park can remain in Europe for 10 more years because of his 10-year residency visa he got at Monaco. I still have a hunch that he’ll be among the “deadwood” flushed out this summer and like Marouane Chamakh, I hope he can find a club that’ll play to his strengths which includes Shaolin Soccer.

When Arsenal visited Spyros Louis in Athens in the last Group F Champions League fixture against Olympiakos, everyone expected Wenger to field the type of team he used against the same outfit three years ago. That night, the calamitous Mikael Silvestre led an Arsenal side that included Lukasz Fabianski, Fran Merida, Kyle Bartley, Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere and Mission Impossible‘s lead actor, Tom Cruise.

Olympiakos won the game with a solitary goal but it didn’t matter from an Arsenal perspective because Arsene Wenger’s side had already booked their place in the Knockout Phase. The Gunners came from behind to salvage a draw against Barcelona in the first leg but Lionel Messi ran the show in the sequel.

Arsenal faced Olympiakos in a similar situation in December but Wenger chose to tweak things up a bit by fielding a squad that had the perfect blend of youth and experience. However, the game was marred by an ankle injury suffered by Andre Santos that sidelined him till Spring.

Andre Santos is a full back that’s also adept playing as a left winger and like every average Brazilian with the exception of Denilson and Lucas Leiva, he’s very skillful and he has an amazing technique.

He’s also a decent free kick taker and he has a flamboyant style of play. Just like the Brazilian legendary left back Roberto Carlos, Andre Santos can unleash a surface-to-goal torpedo from his left boot and he can also place the ball when he’s close enough to goal; at least, Petr Cech can attest to that.

His major flaw as a player is his overzealous attacking nature and he’s not that fast enough to track back should a counter attack surface and he tends to be selfish at times because he loves dwelling on the ball. He has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival and the memories of Gael Clichy are fading with each passing week.

Andre Santos played for the Reserves for an hour in the 3-0 win against West Brom Reserves and the Samba boy has declared that it’s good to be back:

“I am very happy to be playing again because it has been a long time, I feel good and I hope to be able to play next week at Everton. “It has been a difficult time because my ankle was in pain and I didn’t feel good, but now it feels good again and I’m very happy to be back.

“I’m really pleased the team have been doing so well. The displays have been strong, the spirit is good and we have 10 games left so we must finish well.”

Andre Santos has made 13 appearances for Arsenal and he has latched in two goals for his new club. With Kieran Gibbs putting up great performances as well as staying fit, Andre Santos will have to prove his worth again to make the starting place his own.

There have been so much talk about Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen linked with Arsenal and his possible arrival will bring healthy competition among the personnel occupying the left back position. We’ll have to wait till the summer to see how things pan out.

Welcome back Andre Santos;

A breath of fresh air.


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