Date: 13th April 2011 at 8:11pm
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When asked the last time Torres scored, Ando was dumbfounded

Last night’s victory over Chelsea has moved Manchester United that little bit closer to what was almost unthinkable a few months ago- the treble.

While the ‘T’ word may only be being whispered cautiously by many Reds, there’s no denying that with just eleven games standing between United and ultimate success, it’s hard for even the most pessimistic not to be thinking it may just be possible.

Saturday’s game at Wembley is yet another ‘cup final’ -even though it’s a semi- which is being touted as the ‘biggest derby of all time.’ The strange thing is, I’m sure the ‘biggest derby of all time’ has already happened twice this season and four times in the previous campaign, so I suppose every game against our ‘noisy neighbours’ will be prefixed with this sensationalist tagline for the foreseeable future.

United’s squad is in fairly good shape- in fact by usual standards it’s actually pretty amazing with only long term injury Owen Hargreaves out and Darren Fletcher yet to recover from his extra long virus. It’s ironically in the central midfield department that most of the ABU mob have picked up on United’s lack of a truly world-class player, at least according to them anyway.

Paul Scholes, may be one of the best midfielders ever but his age is often cited as a reason he can’t be truly relied upon to dominated games, at least not consistently as often as he did in the past.

Michael Carrick has gone a long way to winning over some of his many critics in recent weeks although it seems it will take a lot more than two superb Champions League games to convince everyone.

There’s also Ryan Giggs, of course who proved last night, once again that on his day he’s still the greatest player at the club and capable of dominating games in the way so-called £50 million players can only dream of.

One man who could find himself playing an important role in the centre of United’s midfield is Mr.Luís de Abreu Oliveira or Anderson as his mum calls him. The young Brazilian who celebrates his birthday today- has returned from injury not quite with a vengeance but at the very least a focused determination to make an impact on the first team.

A rare brace of goals for the reserves against City followed by a solid display against Fulham have shown that Anderson’s not too far away from reaching the sort of match sharpness required for the big games, of which there are many on the horizon.

Playing in the reserves this evening means that United’s number eight may not start against City this weekend but there’s every chance he could figure in next Tuesday’s game against Newcastle at St. James’s.

The thing that separates Anderson from many of his central midfield colleagues is that he’s one of the few players who can carry the ball forward over long distances, plus his tenacious ability to keep hold of it even when surrounded by opposition players.

Carrick may be more disciplined and Scholes’s passing more accurate but there’s no denying that Anderson offers United that something different that could prove vital in certain games.

The Brazilian’s had his fair share of injuries over the course of his Old Trafford career and the general consensus seems to be that he should have kicked on by now following his 18 million Euro move from Porto.

His first season was something of an annus mirabilis topped off by his confident strolling up to the penalty spot to smash the ball past Petr Cech as though it was the easiest thing in the world.

That’s one trait of Anderson’s I love- his confidence. Unlike Carrick, Gibson or occasionally even Fletcher who sometimes seem to look as though they lack a bit of belief, Anderson plays with the swagger of a man who genuinely thinks he’s the best player on the pitch.

His ‘look one way and pass the other’ move not to mention his chest puffed out Cantona-esque strolling around the pitch and willingness to run through a seemingly insurmountable amount of players and ability to get stuck in all make him a player who it’s easy to enjoy watching.

The Old Trafford faithful certainly took to him, with the “Anderson-son-son” chant quickly becoming a favourite among many Reds.

That’s not to say Anderson isn’t without his faults of course, injuries aside, his often woeful finishing, plus the way he’ll dominate one game, only to be anonymous in the next one can often test the patience of even his most ardent supporters. Then there’s his fitness and weight which seems to fluctuate between ‘stocky’ and ‘podgy’ depending on how long he’s been out.

It would be foolish to claim that Anderson’s the most consistent of players or that he’s truly convinced everyone he’s got a long-term future at United. For the time being though, his services could prove vital, particularly with the run United have coming up.

Someone like Anderson who’s willing to battle, yet has the skill to carry the ball forward could be the key to victory in some of the games coming up. If Darren Fletcher doesn’t achieve match fitness soon, then Anderson could well be the man to take charge of the midfield in the Premier League clashes against Arsenal and Chelsea.

I know United have coped well in his absence but a player of his ability, fighting fit and raring to go could make the difference between a 2003 type season and a 1999 one.

Am I overestimating the Brazilian’s importance? Is he destined to be just a bit part player? Or is this, like an Anderson goal, one of the rare moments that I actually make some sense? Feel free to comment below:


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7 responses to “Could Anderson Be The Key To United’s Season?”

  1. RedScot says:

    “The swagger of a man who genuinely thinks he is the best player on the pitch”There in lays the problem,thinking it and actually displaying “it”.
    For me bearing in mind his cost and his goal return in excess of a 120 games is a forlorn hope that we pin our hopes on Anderson.His transfer fee in comparison to the like of Wesley Sniedjer£15 million,Mesut Ozil £15million,Rafael van der Vaart,£8million,to me does not look good buisness,possibly on the wages he recieves in comparison to foresaid names,but not on ability on the park.To do what an attacking midfielder is meant to do!
    I would much prefer to pin my hopes on Carrick playing as he did in two games against Chelsea, prodding searching passes and blocking the opposition attacks.Winning the ball back and finding a United player with an accurate pass.The Micheal Carrick of old,returning to the party
    With Rooney now playing with a smile on his face and been given the freedom to dictate the play from the midfield,Anderson almost becomes surplus.
    At best a luxury squad player I believe Anderson is.He has had adequate amount of opportunites to show the faithfull he wants to play for United but fails to grasp the nettle.
    I dont think he his puffing out his chest similar to King Eric as you allude to in the article, is it not he is basically grossly overweight!
    Having said that stranger things have happened at United and its possible if you have faith that Anderson might eventually get “it” what it means to play for Manchester United,as one Javier Hernandez has shown in a fraction ofthe time that Anderson has been at United.If the club has extended his contract till 2014 someone other than the Author has faith in his ability and clearly see’s some thing us mere mortals are hoping to witness “soon” 😀

  2. Sale Red says:

    Could Anderson be the key to our season?


    Massively overrated in my book. He’s too one footed, can’t pass, can’t shoot, can’t head the bloody thing. In fact I find it hard to see what he actually adds.

    Prove me wrong Anderson, please!

  3. Oliver says:

    Not sure what you two are on about, I agree almost totally with the writer of this article.

    Come off it, just because he’s been labelled an ‘attacking midfielder’ doesn’t mean he needs to score goals. Obviously he doesn’t have the best conversion rate, but having said that, he doesn’t take that many shots either (like Nani!). He is more, if you will, a creative attacking midfielder, whose confidence (as the writer explained terrifically well) breathes life into our team and gives them more purpose.

    He’s been my favourite player since he arrived, and he clearly improves our team, just look at the stats.

    Anderson didn’t play in the defeats to Chelsea, Liverpool and Wolves (our only three defeats in the league).

    Furthermore, he didn’t play in the 0-0 with Marseille. He didn’t feature when we drew 2-2 with Villa, 2-2 with Bolton, the 0-0 with Rangers, the 3-3 with Everton, the 2-2 with Fulham or 0-0 with City either. He was only a late sub in the 0-0 draw with Spurs, and in fact, in one of the two or three games he’s started in that we haven’t won this this, against Valencia, he actually scored our only goal! What’s more, he was heavily involved in the 7-1 win over Blackburn, as well as the 5-0 over Birmingham and the 5-2 over Scunthorpe.

    Hernandez is undeniably a fantastic talent, however he is a striker, and thus if he is to be considered a good buy he will score lots of goals, as he has, so this seems to be the only thing people notice. Just because Anderson doesn’t score very many goals, doesn’t mean he is not of use to the team.
    He was imperious at the weekend against Fulham.

    Sale Red;

    Of course he can pass, I know this isn’t hard core evidence, but I love this:

    Shooting isn’t what he’s about, it’s like saying Ferdinand’s crap because he doesn’t run with the ball ever – total nonsense.

    When he’s got the ball, he has so much influence and is able to play it where he wants. Watch his highlights from the reserve match against City.

    Watch at 0:55, 4:00, 1:48 and 3:15.

  4. RedScot says:

    “Not sure what you two are on about” I think I explained carefully in my post 22hours ago.
    If he has been your favourite player since he arrived at United, you have a very limited knowledge of United.
    Compare the players I listed and their respective costs and contributions to their teams.
    I am not sure what you are on about, its generally to me called “Hot air” with no substance to support your post.
    I think 2 goals in excess of 120 games says volumes dont you.
    The reserves are exactly that, you make my point perfectly.
    Its time we moved on though is it not, its only 22hours after the article was raised.

  5. Oliver says:

    Once again, with your comment on how many goals he’s scored… As I’ve said, what does that matter in real terms? When he plays, the team plays better, as MY stats (the results in games that he’s played in vs those he hasn’t) show, and just because he isn’t the eventual scorer very often doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve credit.

    Watch at 4:35

    While admittedly he does sometimes shoot when passing is a better option, which footballer doesn’t? This is pure unselfishness.

    It doesn’t matter when you’re playing in the Carling Cup, for the reserves, or in the CL Final (which, I must add, he scored a fantastic penalty in), playing well is still difficult.

    I’m not denying that the players you’ve listed are bad deals, why, you’ve gone and found some of the best deals made in the last couple of years (funny, ain’t it?), but you must remember that Anderson was bought partly for potential. I accept that Ozil is young and may have been for a similar reason, but the others weren’t. Fergie has some of the best scouts who have found Ronaldo and Nani, and I believe he’s found another gem in Anderson, and that we should hang on to him if we can.

    Don’t insult my knowledge of United because I disagree with you, that’s just comical.

  6. VintagePeak says:

    It’s sad when people deride people with a different opinion because they don’t agree. Just be comfortable with your own opinion.

    My opinion is Anderson can be one of the best, I’m not being hyperbolic or over the top. When you see Anderson next to Gerard, Fabregas and Lampard he can easily keep the ball from them and spray passes round them and have enough movement and strength to be constantly involved in the game. His finishing is poor but so are a number of players including this years starlet Jack Wilshere. If Anderson can understand his role properly and learn to maintain intensity I have no doubt that he can offer something incredible to next season and the end of this one. He wouldn’t be the first player to take time to settle.

  7. Oliver says:

    VintagePeak, that’s a pretty much perfect comment.