Andre Santos has joined Brazilian side Gremio for the remainder of the 2012/13 season.
After finding opportunities limited this term, Santos now returns to Brazil’s Serie A - the Brasileirao - for more regular first-team football.
This comes as no surprise because the Gunners brought in Nacho Monreal to play left-back in late January. Per David Ornstein of BBC Sport:
Monreal has agreed a long-term deal, thought to be four and a half years.
Santos, in short, didn't live up to expectations for the Gunners and Arsene Wenger.
His scoring was only minimal, and he made plenty of costly defensive miscues that ultimately put Arsenal in this predicament. That said, Nacho Monreal can be expected to pick up the pieces and get the Gunners back on track.
Plus Arsenal has been playing solid recently. Two consecutive 1-0 victories to kick off February is just the start of Monreal's impact.
After all, it is not like Santos raised the standard, either. So there is less pressure on Monreal to perform by comparison.
Nevertheless, he is a much more disciplined and sound defender, and that will certainly help Arsenal from an individual perspective.
Given that defense always plays a significant role as well, Monreal's addition is a competitive advantage near the goal and/or in the air. Even better, Monreal is also excited about the opportunity provided.
In an article by John Cross of the Daily Mirror earlier in February, Monreal stated, "Arsenal like to keep the ball, which is beneficial for me and I like this part of the team’s game. I love playing with the ball at my feet, short, sharp touches, and good movement."
That's just what Monreal has provided thus far.
His quickness and endurance bodes well in crucial match situations and for the left-back position. On a team that must improve defensively anyway, Monreal will continue to be relied on.
At the same time, Arsenal's offense is a great complement to his defense. Possessing the ability to pass when needed and control his area defensively, Monreal's instincts and awareness will keep paying dividends for the Gunners.
Provided their momentum remains throughout February, the team should keep rolling through March and into April.
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