Andre Santos is an embarrassment to football. And as long as he is an Arsenal shirt, he thumbs his nose at Arsene Wenger's oft repeated explanations for his inertia in the transfer market put down to difficulties finding "super quality" players. One has no idea how Wenger manages to keep saying what he does without the earth opening up and swallowing him. There was no pretense of a defence as Will Buckley over ran Santos at will all afternoon down the right channel which produced both goals. The Brazilian was never the best defender when he was healthy and now coming back after a long injury layoff, a clown with clogs on could do a better job. But then Santos obviously expected Lukas Podolski to do all the heavy lifting and be productive on the front foot at the same time.
With Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky, and Aaron Ramsey all less than match fit, joining him, the midfield was ripe for the picking and Brighton looked good bossing around the ball. Arsenal going in front through Olivier Giroud's minimum fuss left footed shot after Poldi laid the ball off for him relieved some of that tension.
On cue, Santos left with the simple job of hoofing the ball after a Brighton counterattack broke down tried showing off some schoolyard moves and was robbed. Brighton's new acquisition, Leonardo Ulloa received the ball in a marginally offside position and mercifully for the Santos bobble head doll the linesman made the correct call. But Brighton you knew were going to equalize. With their tails up, and off a corner, a somnolent Arsenal defense looking to Wojciech Szczesny, saw no danger in Ashley Barnes nipping in front of the goalie and powering the ball in. Look at Santos standing around not putting pressure on Buckley. Familiar story, familiar result.
The half ended with Santos unlocking his lips just enough from the bong pipe to blast the ball from 30 yards into the stratosphere. He had obviously seen a vision just like Steve Coogan on the rooftop in 24 Hour Party People. Arsenal could have taken a 2-1 lead but Poldi's sweetly struck free kick clanged off the upright.
The second half began and an ordinary mortal would have rightfully taken off Santos and put on Gibbs. But Wenger fancies himself as an alchemist. Where we see mud, he sees nuggets. Sometimes it works, recently, it has turned out be more gooey silica. Just when you feared for TV screens everywhere, Giroud produced a stunning beauty of a goal off Abou Diaby's cheekily perfect chip. A deft touch corralled the ball and the striker finished perfectly with his left foot. Which meant Brighton was going to score and it came predictably from the right channel as Barnes curled in a cross Ulloa flung himself after Mertesacker who showed the anticipation and speed of a three toed sloth completely missed the flight of the ball. Just shocking.
That was enough for Wenger to bring in the heavy artillery as Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott were brought on for Rosicky and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain. But still no sign of Santos being subbed. Arsenal gained an attacking edge with these changes but still there was no material impact till Kieran Gibbs finally came on for Santos. But before that we were treated to another Santos ICBM that broke the ozone somewhere over the Bikini atoll. Finally, Arsenal had something to show for their exertion after Wilshere's corner was cleared as far as Walcott whose gentle volley was fortuitously deflected into goal by Adam El Abd. Then the defense held together was the next 8 minutes to ensure Arsenal's progress to the final 16.
Wenger in his post match interview stated what everyone knows by now. There will be no more signings. The most linked club in the world will end the January transfer window with no movement.