Are Arsenal supporters ever really happy without a scapegoat? By Arsenal standards it’s been a while since we have had one but I notice that a couple of candidates are coming into focus. I am mot sure why I am talking about supporters in the third person because when it comes to moaning I have been as guilty as the rest of you. My first memories of doing such come from copying my dad who I remember repeatedly criticising one particular player in days gone by.
We all know this happens and we all know the list of scapegoats is long, some may be able to name them in sequence over the last twenty years; others might even be able to go back further.
There has been a bit of a lull recently but I sense the collective have two particular players in their sites and are homing in. The two, who I am sure you have already worked out, are Gervinho for his frustratingly erratic style of play and rather more surprisingly to me Santos.
There were so many comments backing up this theory yesterday, fearing the presence of Santos at left back on Saturday, some clung to the hope that Gibbs might return only giving up when it was officially announced on Arsenal.com that he will definitely miss the game. After that people split up into smaller groups, some suggesting Sagna on the left with Jenkinson on the right, others suggesting Vermaelen at LB, others Koscielny and even a few putting forward the case for Jenkinson at LB.
What has brought on this fear of Santos that some would prefer to play right footed players in the left back position? Some accuse the Brazilian of being guilty of playing Holt onside enabling him to score and cause our embarrassing defeat against Norwich. Some accuse him of being culpable for the Schalke’s first and many around me at the Emirates screamed with anger as Macke for QPR with only five minutes to go came down the left at speed cut inside of Santos and created a one on one with Mannone who fortunately not only saved the shot but saved the three points.
Well, I don’t agree with any of those accusations, I don’t agree with the first because Santos was not guilty of spilling the ball from the twenty yard shot as much as he wasn’t guilty of losing possession which enabled that long range shot to happen in the first place. Schalke’s first goal came through the middle which had nothing to do with Santos and lastly if you look again how Mackie was able to cut inside you will notice that Santos had rightly stayed with the his man further out on our left.
I don’t quite understand how this player, who is obviously getting back to speed with the pace of the EPL, has even been nominated for scapegoat status. My closest guess is that English people are not used to his style; I’m English so I can say that, we all love Jenkinson for running everything down in that “oh so Brit way” but Santos is a bit cooler; a bit more Brazilian; he doesn’t run if he can walk, why should he?
Santos has not been guilty of any mistakes that have led to goals. I am amazed that people cannot remember how we all felt about him before he got injured in the CL — we were falling over ourselves to praise him. He was and he remains a very good player, that said I think it is fair now to say that he now has had enough time to get himself up to speed, this excuse will not be valid on Saturday, he should rightly be judged on that performance.
In the words of the great British sailor Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson: “Arsenal Expects” Come on Andre don’t let me down.
Written by London