Arsenal’s journey to redemption begins from tomorrow.

A new era beckons. We have been a team in transition for so long that I wonder how many times have people been telling me Arsenal is going to fulfill its potential.

Who would fulfil his role in midfield this time? Photo - Arsenal.com

From the likes of Vieira, Bergakmp, Pires, to Cashley Cole, Gilberto, Henry ( more in the form of Van Persie injuries woes) , one season wonder Cashdabayor, Flamini to the the recently departed Fabregas and Nasri. These players were all key to Arsenal during our more successful years, and everytime we come so close to replacing them, some key players of ours leave.

However, tomorrow, for the first time, we can safely say, that is about to change. For tomorrow’s game, and for the first time in a long long while, we have spent some moolah. We have reinforced some parts of the squad with adequate quality. The players who came in may not be like-for-like replacements, but they are all essentially experienced and highly proven in their respective leagues, doubtless some may be considered inferior to the League.

Furthermore, additional signings simply = more competition for squad position. Players like Arshavin’s and Chamakh’s place in the team are under threat ( if they weren’t already before ). The first to admit that the pressure of competition would be helpful is our under-performing Swiss, Djourou.

The transfer window was just crazy. I left here [to go on international duty] and then I have five new guys in the dressing-room. i think it’s great. I think we needed some new players, we needed competition in the team and I think that’s just what happened here.

Arsene expects Arteta and Benayoun to impact us immediattely. I on the other hand, do not expect them to start performing in blazing form. Obviously these new players need some time to gel with the team. However, I would agree with anyone that we are a vastly improved side in contrast to the one that got their ass whooped 8-2 a fortnight ago.

The game tomorrow is just another game. But the reaction of the team after our spanking last week is important. The lads need to show that they have overcome that nightmare. To maintain that sombre attitude would be folly.

This is in essence where the new signings would help. They weren’t in the squad that got spanked, their morale should be relatively good considering they managed to join a Champions League team. A good debut performance would be nice, but more importantly, showing the desire to win, the unwillingness to yield to defeat would help to influence other squad members as well.

The season essentially begins from tomorrow, a month later than what we would have liked. To say we are disappointed would be an huge understatement. To ponder over what could have been and wallow in self-pity would be redundant. Le Boss echoes the same sentiments.

” The real start of the season, where we can get the whole squad together is now.”

I wouldn’t exactly say whole squad is the correct term to use. Ahead of tomorrow’s match, team news has been released. Song, Gervinho and Jenkinson would be serving their last match ban. Diaby, Wilshere, Vermaelen and Squillaci are out. Rosicky has a knock again and is waiting till tomorrow to see whether he is fit. Returning to the team is a fit-again Gibbs, until he does his hamstring / calf / knee / whatever. Frimpong is also available again. Theo Walcott is also fit, and able to play dispelling rumours of injury. For those wanting to see Andre Santos, you might be disappointed as Arsene believes the Brazilian is still unfit.

Speaking of injury,Arsene has moved to ensure fans and supporters that Wilshere injury is of nobody’s blame. I am really nonchalant about whose fault it is. The fact is, our player of the season for 2010/2011 is injured, for 2 months, and nothing said would be able to heal his leg and faster. Only time and rest can help Jacky now. Maybe Nasri breaking his leg too. Substitution effect you see.

To end on a happy note, Mertesacker has given his first interview to the club, and spoke of his love for the club, and how he liked Tony Adams. I will drink to that sir, if you become half as good as Tony was!

We didn’t get many pictures of him on the television but Adams was a legend here. He is a special one for me.

It is always nice to hear a player declare how much he loves his current club, until someone comes in and throws a million quids in his face and say: “JOIN ME AT MAN CUNTEH.”  But until such time descends on Arsenal again, Mertesacker is my man for the moment!

So that’s all for today folks! As promised, Andre Santos profile for today! Hopefully he plays tomorrow so that if I do compile a video of him I could end it with some Arsenal scenes! Do subscribe if you want to be kept notified of the next post with the next features and any videos that i may post! Simply leave a comment and tick the notify me of new post box, or go to my homepage and click on the subscribe button on the right-hand side!

Andre Santos, 11 - Photo- Arsenal.com

Andre Santos

Andre Santos first started out at Figueirense youth team, before being promoted to the first team in 2003/04. He went on to play 30 games that season, scoring 2 goals. The following seasons were spent on loan at Flamengo and Aletico Mineiro, playing 24 and 15 games respectively.

In 2006/07, Santos went back to Figueirense, and helped the club achieve a respectable seventh position in the Brazil Serie A. Santos made 31 appearances that season, and scored 6 goals, a respectable total considering his position at left back.

Following that, Corinthians bought the attacking left back. 2008/09 season proved to be a turning point in his career. Andre Santos would go on to turn out 34 times for his club, and score 9 goals along the way. His performance was rewarded with his first call up to Brazil national team. The left back debuted for Brazil in June 2009, against Egypt. That year, he also won the 2009 Confederation Cup with Brazil.

He made his foray into Europe following his success with Brazil, and joined Fenerbahce for a reported fee of €9 million. Santos hit the ground running, and contributed 5 goals from 27 appearances that season. In 2010/11, he scored the same amount of goals from 25 matches, and helped the Turkish side to the league title.

With the departure of Clichy and Traore, Arsenal scouting network identified Santos as the one to replace those two players, and a move was on the cards. The player decision to move was also influenced by the fact that Fenerbahce were involved in a match fixing scandal, thus relegating the team to the lower tiers. On 29th August, Andre Santos officially became an Arsenal player, with a fee of around £6.2m paid for his services.

The Brazilian plays with an attacking instinct, running down the left wing with relish whenever possible. He has a tendency to cut into the middle, and make runs into the box. This helps to provide an additional threat to oppositions. Santos also has an eye for goal, shown in his scoring exploits for his previous clubs. Andre Santos can also operate as a left winger, and his freekicks are of decent standard, but thinking back how long it has been since we last scored a free kick, maybe he would make a difference.

The tendency to roam from his position could be Santos failing. Attacking relentlessly may be good, but the space Santos could leave could also be exploited by speedy wingers like Gareth Gale. The defender has to learn how to stay back at times, and curb his attacking instinct when needs be.  The Brazilian also has a tendency to showboat, holding onto the ball for long and attempting to dribble past players when a pass would have sufficed. Against average teams, this may be effective. But going up against experienced players like Jamie Carragher, may see Santos losing the ball quite often.

All in all, this is a decent signing. Andre Santos would be providing competition to the ever-injured Gibbs. However, the lack of other players who could play in that position also means that should Gibbs continue being injured on a frequent basis, then Andre Santos himself would be lacking competition for his place in the squad. That said, Andre Santos is able to provide some attacking impetus should the need arises, especially when Arsenal plays teams who “love to park the bus”. And that’s it for our newest no.11, Andre Santos!

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