Andre Santos: Season Review

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: Andre Santos of Arsenal scores Arsenal's second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on October 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Much derided as a "panic buy", Andre Santos turned out to be a pretty solid purchase by Arsene Wenger. Although the Brazilian took some time to adapt to the Premier League, he was sorely missed when he went down injured during the Great Fullback Crisis. Santos scored 3 goals, 2 in the Premier League (i.e., more goals in one season than Gael Clichy got in 7 years), including crucial goals against Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion.

Aidan: I have to say that I love Andre Santos. He's brilliant. He's a great dribbler, great passer, sticks up for his teammates and is very excitable. He's also not a bad defender; he's good at nicking the ball and making tackles (he made the most tackles/match at Arsenal and the joint 2nd most interceptions). He has an annoying but also funny habit of not running after the ball when he knows it's going out. I think he's quite a decent player, and, if I were a betting man, I'd stick a couple of quid on him being next season's Koscielny, in terms of regard. Obviously he has worse defensive instincts than Koscielny, which is why I'm slightly terrified when Vermaelen and him are in the same defence, because both like to go walkabout. This, of course, is why someone more defensive than Alex Song will be very beneficial to Arsenal's attack, because it'll allow the fullbacks to get forward with less worry about counter attacks. Ultimately, Santos is a good player and the calls to sell him from some section of the fanbase make no sense to me at all.

Grade: B-

Paul: Yet another part of Wenger's massive August buying spree, Andre Santos had a great fall, scoring a goal in Arsenal's win at Chelsea in October, and settling in to life at left back fairly well in place of Kieran Gibbs. Then he got hurt in December, as did seemingly the entire Arsenal defense, and that was it for the Brazilian until March. After March, he played regularly but didn't start every game - arguably his biggest contribution was the equalizing goal against WBA. I like Santos - he's not spectacular, but he does a lot of things well. As with seemingly dozens of other players in this review series, I am really looking forward to seeing what he can do when healthy over a full season.

Grade: B- (that grade could easily be an A next year if he's fully healthy)

Ted: Although I am perfectly willing to admit the Brazilian wackiness of Andre Santos, I can't help but love "Big George From The Estate", as Tom Watt of Arsenal Fans' Forum calls him. He's not the most solid defender; there is no denying that. He isn't really a left wing, either, although at times, he looks like he might be the trickiest dribbler on the entire squad. But there's a lot to love about the man who joined Arsenal from Fenerbahce on the last possible day: his efforts pressing higher up the pitch, his willingness to shoot as hard as he can when presented with the opportunity (which has made messes of goalkeepers from the Cech to the Fulop), and his general twitter demeanor (which requires google translate, but is usually worth it). He never really got fully into playing shape, I don't think, as injuries during the Great Arsenal Fullback Crisis of 2011-12 kept him out of action for some time, but when he played, he looked generally like he was enjoying himself, even while opposing wingers were sometimes dancing past him. He's a classic Brazilian wing back, if you want to use that line of thinking, and I can't help it. Smiles.

Grade: B-

Thomas: I'm still not sure whether Andre Santos is a good player or not. He's good in the attack for a defender, but he's not that great in the defense for a defender. But he is definitely an awesome player. Whenever he manages to do something - make a tackle, complete a dribble, take a shot at goal - it may not end up working, but it's almost always awesome. Right before he got hurt he was starting to play objectively well, but then he played against Olympiakos for no reason, and [RANT REDACTED]. He was decent at the end of the year when he finally returned, and scored the equalizer against West Brom on the last day of the season. With that goal and his other equalizer (against Chelsea), Andre Santos cemented a place near and dear to my heart.

Grade: A samba after scoring at Stamford Bridge

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