In the aftermath of Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester United, Jonathan Northcroft proclaimed on Twitter that “even a blind-drunk beautician, with dodgy waxing apparatus, couldn’t produce a worse Brazilian” when referring to left-back Andre Santos.
The burly full-back has come under staunch criticism from the Gunners faithful and the media alike following a number of sub-standard displays in the club’s backline this season. Statistically speaking, Santos was the North London side’s best player during the recent 1-0 win over Queen’s Park Rangers.
It goes to show that stats can, at times, only tell half the story, with the Brazilian poor, at best, when taking on the R’s. Against United, it was a similar tale for the 29-year-old, who it can be argued was at fault for the host’s opener.
Yes, it was Thomas Vermaelen who all but gifted Robin van Persie the opener in the third minute, but the simplicity of which compatriot Rafael eased his way past Santos saw the United right-back able to fire the cross into the Arsenal 18-yard box.
Yet, Arsene Wenger appears to have faith in Santos, until Kieran Gibbs returns from injury anyway. With the much improved Carl Jenkinson on the bench, fans have questioned the Frenchman’s loyalty to the former Fenerbache man.
Coming up against Antonio Valencia, one of the Premiership’s stand-out performers, it was never going to be an easy afternoon for Santos. Yet, the Ecuadorian comfortably ghosted past the 29-year at every given opportunity.
As a result, the Gunners defence is suffering significantly. They may’ve kept a clean sheet against QPR, but much of the danger was, unsurprisingly, coming through Jose Bosingwa and Shaun Wright Phillips on the visitor’s right-hand side.
The sooner Santos, who regularly pushes higher up the pitch than the strikers, is relegated to the bench, the better it will be for the Gunners.