Cast your mind back to May 2009, Manchester United were comprehensively and soundly trounced in Rome by a magical Barcelona side, inspired by Xavi and Iniesta. For many, the lack of quality in the centre of the park was plain to see, Carrick looked lethargic and unsure of himself, Fletcher was missed, this, a surprise in itself. Club legends, Giggs and Scholes were ineffective and nowhere to be seen.
The class of the Manchester United midfield is weak in comparison their Premier League rivals, Chelsea with Essien, Lampard, Ballack and Liverpool have Mascherano, Aquilani and Gerrard respectively. Carrick, Fletcher and Scholes just do not compare.
Some of you may cry, “You forgot about Owen Hargreaves!” Indeed I did, mainly due to the length of time he has been injured and latest estimates say he will return around Christmas.
With the transfer window almost closed there are no centre midfielders in sight. So I put it to you that, Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira or just plain Anderson will flourish this season.
In my opinion, Anderson possesses all the qualities to become a top class midfielder, he has pace, acceleration, strength, a strong positional sense coupled with the ability to thread through a match winning final ball. He is a combatitive all action midfielder, beginning his career further up the park, he has since developed a very useful defensive side to an already impressive array of attacking talents.
Anderson reminds me a little of Kaka but with a hint of Roy Keane, obviously these are massively talented players, whose level of ability he has not yet reached, but I think he can and has to an extent combined the best parts of their respective games.
He can sit in front of the defence and play a disciplined role, spreading passes to his teammates further up the field. He can also play as an attacking midfielder, a place where he is most comfortable. In this position he offers all the samba skills you can want – just ask Cesc Fabregas – he has vision, dribbling skills and an eye for goal.
The single shortfall of Anderson’s game, and it is a rather large one, is his uncanny ability to do everything right in the lead up to a shot then fluff the final act, footballs have been found as far away as China. Seemingly he did not bring his shooting boots to Old Trafford.
But I have hopes he can eradicate this untimely habit throughout the forthcoming season, and if pre-season is anything to go by we are in for a few treats, as his sublime free-kick against Boca Juniors was a joy to behold.
I think this could be the season where stamps his authority on this Manchester United side, he has already shown in the past he can mix it up with the big boys dominating in games against Fabregas and Steven Gerrard during his first season with United. He may just prove that there is infact life after a certain Portuguese.