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Can Anderson Be the Key?

The Midfield Magician

The Midfield Magician

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.

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  1. NewtonHeath

    August 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

  2. Cam

    August 25, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I hope Anderson leaves…anyone who questions Sir Alex shouldn’t be at United! SAF has proven himself over and over again and to whinge and cry like Tevez did wont get you anywhere! Anderson is an attacking midfielder who hasn’t really proven his worth either. United have enough depth to replace him so I’m not too concerned!
    When Hargreaves comes back itll make things a lot easier. Fletcher, Park, Carrick, Scholes and even Gibson can all fill the other centre mid position.

    • Huh

      August 25, 2009 at 6:01 am

      I agree Cam Fergie does not suffer fools gladly and think we have seen the last of Anderson (if repots of bust up are true) but because he has not proven himself, UTD will take a massive loss on his transfer fee. He cost £18m I’d think if lucky maybe £6m – £8m back on him.

  3. Tyson

    August 25, 2009 at 1:23 am

    He’s good but Darren Fletcher and Owen Hargreaves are the real midfield maestros at Old Trafford.

    Fletcher is becoming the best midfield player at OT and Owen Hargreaves though injured was such a monumental figure when he did play at OT he practically gave Manchester United a completely different midfield.

    Manchester United still need Hargreaves back though the man was very good at dealing with counter attacking sides.

    • Sam Davis

      August 25, 2009 at 1:01 am

      First it was Carrick, and now it’s Anderson. And it was Nani last year. It seems like the papers are hell bent on breaking our concentration this season.

      Seems odd that they’d choose the two players least likely to cause any sort of shitstorm in the locker room.

  4. wllmhll

    August 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    all he needs now is to score goals. ya, he scored penalties and that freekick during preseason but he still need to score open play goals in the league, cups and champions league.

  5. NewtonHeath

    August 24, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    Keep in mind that Ando is a youngster and has plenty of time to develop… I think people forget that at times, especially when he was thrust into the spotlight and played so well in big games his first season by shutting down gerrard and fabregas.

    It will take time and that’s expected. Also, it’s a different position than what he played at Porto. Watch all his highlight videos from his old team. His stature and physicality suit the premier league for sure though but he’s like nani in that his performances can be night and day. However, I think Fergie does see him as a long-term role player and he’s just lost time due to fletcher coming on to absolutely amazing form.

    As with anything, give it time. United have quite a rotation in the center of the park with scholes, carrick, fletcher, ando, giggs occassionally, and hargreaves if he ever recovers. I remember in the 07/08 season the partnership of scholes and carrick was solid and then the partnership of ando and hargo was solid.

    Ando still has plenty of work to do on his finishing and final touches but his vision and passing are usually on point and he adds another ball winner to the middle of the park. He’s young, fletcher’s played well and Ando has been cold so just need to give him time. (side note: I also see Gibson playing a long-term role at the club as what I’ve seen of him has been impressive. Maybe ando as scholes replacement and gibson as keane-type replacement?). Anyways, we’ll continue to watch the progress.

    “he is class with a brass and he shits on fabregas”


  6. Sam E P

    August 24, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Errrr, what about Valencia? He’ll work hard for 90 minutes (unlike Ronaldo who always took forever to come back onside after sulking over not getting a free kick/penalty) and he’ll compliment Rooney’s speed with searching through balls. And he’s not a smoker either.

  7. Evan

    August 24, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    “Fletcher was missed, this, a surprise in itself.”

    Darren Fletcher has been Man Utd’s best midfielder for the past two seasons.

  8. BWS

    August 24, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Must agree w PoorArticle. Anderson was a complete waste in the Champs League final and maybe its just me but his passing is awful. He over-hits balls constantly–my brother and I kept track during the opening match and he did it over and over again. I have no confidence he can run the midfield for United.

  9. The Gaffer

    August 24, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    While Anderson is crucial this season, how about Rooney and Berbatov this past Saturday? Talk about two players on fire right now.

    The Gaffer

    • Huh

      August 24, 2009 at 2:16 pm

      Berbatov on fire? what have u been watching? maybe they should set him on fire and pick up the insurance money!

      • The Gaffer

        August 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm

        On fire in terms of assists, not goals. His assist for Rooney’s second goal in the 65th minute was a beauty. And he made plenty of clinical passes during the Wigan game. Yes, he should be scoring more, but he’s linking up well with Rooney. Berba’s time will come.

        The Gaffer

        • Huh

          August 24, 2009 at 5:25 pm

          £31 million for a hand full of assists? great he’s whats known as a huge waste of money and trying to gloss over it with assists is madness because fletcher will get as many and didn’t cost a penny! Berba’s 29 on his next birthday so his time better come quick!

          • Tyson

            August 25, 2009 at 1:28 am

            You are a moron.

            Try and comprehend this with your puny brain for a moment.

            Most strikers are not very versatile in what they are capable of doing.

            Berbatov already has an assist and a goal in 3 games. Few players that score goals can assist goals and create opportunities.

            To any moron who only understands “DUH GOALZ WENTZ INZ” you won’t understand the important of a player who can produce opportunities out of thin air but football is a team game the opportunities you produce are more important than individual scoring triumphs.

      • Bishopville Red

        August 24, 2009 at 3:50 pm

        HUH: Maybe you should catch the Wigan match again. Berbatov was out of this universe. Movement and touch were sublime. More of that on its way!

        • Huh

          August 24, 2009 at 5:29 pm

          Yes I loved the way he scuffed the ball in the net (could have knocked the corner flag out ) He is the most expensive flop ever to grace the EPL and you will think the same this time next year, Veron mlk 2

          • Cam

            August 25, 2009 at 4:34 am

            What about Robinho?? He hasn’t really done much this year…or last! Pretty expensive flop in my books…To call him the most expensive flop to grace the EPL is pretty ignorant! Berbatov has brilliance, we saw it while he was at Tottenham (and on the weekend)! He reminds me a lot of Viduka (sorry I’m Australian). He can hold the ball up well, his touch can be magnificent and he moves into spaces with ease! I think it is more of him being provided with good service…Last year it was all Ronny, he hogged the ball and never really looked to anyone else. This year will be different I’m sure!

          • Huh

            August 25, 2009 at 5:28 am


            Robinho scored 14 goals in 30 games making him 4th top scorer in the league last year and around 7 assists from midfield not up front! this in his first year in the prem a new much faster league than he’s used to. Where do you get your crazy info from? Please stop reading idiotic reporters crap and look at facts. I’d rather have Robinho than Berbatov any day
            Now compare this to the STRIKER who was bought specifically for his goal scoring prowess not the way he steps over the ball and lazily walks around he’s been in the prem for years so should be doing a HELL OF A LOT BETTER! I’m afraid this is a case of big fish little pool at spurs and now the pool got bigger with much bigger fish and he’s FLOPPING MASSIVELY what ever you say doesn’t change the facts! He’s a FAILURE NOW as I type the same as last year, he flopped at Burnley and will continue to do so. Darren Bent scored 12 out of 33 and the usual assists and is know as a spurs no mark (could have bought him for £10m will do better than Berba) Why not bring up the 0-5 at Wigan and berba’s great performance lol. with a side who have sold EVERY decent player they have in the last few months (Valencia, Cattermole, Heskey, Palacios, Zaki) half their team! They are going down faster than a lead balloon.

            Tyson you must be around 10 yrs old cos ya constantly talking utter crap ‘most strikers are not very versatile in what there capable of doing’ whats that supposed to mean u clown have a look at other strikers last yr u will find they all have assists and most scored more than barb and didn’t cost £31 million you Muppet!

          • Cam

            August 25, 2009 at 6:12 am

            Huh, you need to re-read what you write before posting!

            If you look at it, there isn’t much difference between the amount of appearances to goals scored with Robinho and Berbatov… 33 games for city and 14 goals (Robinho @ 32.5mill) and 34 games for United and 10 goals (Berbatov @ 30.75mill). I’d say those facts are pretty damn similar! And considering Uniteds firepower last year, I can understand those 4 goals went elsewhere (Ronny, Rooney, Tevez etc). Who did City have last year to score goals??? Bellami and Benjani are great to compete against…….and just for the record, City made a bid for Berbatov the same day United did so obviously he isn’t as crap as you think he is!!!
            Secondly, I didn’t see Robinho anywhere near top of the assists ladder…Berbatov was 2nd with the likes of Gerrard, Fabregas and Lampard and only second to Van Persie…pretty crap huh?? I can’t see another striker apart from VP up there can you?
            Lastly, Wigan won their first game against Villa (who beat Liverpool), so to say they are going down makes you look stupid. Stop spewing out stupid comments unless they are worthy…

          • Huh

            August 25, 2009 at 9:00 am


            I’m afraid he scored 9 goals in 31 games last season and was brought in for GOALS with a big reputation not to get assists Utd have many players who do already! they now need goal scorers. Take Ronaldo’s 18 in 33 games and Utd don’t even finish 3rd (then u would not be 2 happy with Berba would u?) now somebody needs to replace his goals and it aint Berbaflop (or Valencia check his record) believe me! and it is to much to ask of Rooney how ever he is played (but he will do his fare share and more with out doubt)

            Gerrard, Fabrgass, Lampard, all midfielders who are a million times better players than Berba and none of which cost £31m (rounded off) I live in Manchester and can tell you Utd fans agree! and are not 2 please with him and his performances.
            I’ll say again Robinho scored 14 goals from midfield more than any other midfielder in open play ( taking away penalties taken by Gerrard and Ronaldo.) You say this is being a flop crazy! what does he need to do? 25 goal in his first season? City did have a bid accepted for Berba and if he came and performed like he did last year he would have been crucified by the British media! laughed at by all .Exactly what the media tried to do mid season to Robinho when he had a lean spell (I think this is where your taking your didn’t do well stance from) Berbatov gets away with his performances cos Utd won the league and for this reason only it would have been a different story otherwise, because it didn’t affect your league position this is over looked by some fans but generally not by most.

            what have City’s scorers got to do with it? I don’t know! but for your information Bellamy scored 8 in 18 (3 in 5 for city) and was bought to do exactly this! also Ireland scored the same as Berbatov and had only 1 less assist! all from midfield.

            Oh by the way something that really does make you look stupid is the fact that you don’t seem to know that if you sell most of your players (your best 5 at that)and don’t replace them there is only 1 way you are going and that’s down. come on think about it my man! Let see where Wigan end up eh?

          • Cam

            August 26, 2009 at 3:13 am

            I have re-read some of my stuff and it sounds as if I am defending Berba to the end. But I am just as un-happy as a lot of the other United fans about Berba and his performances! The reason being he plays for my team and I have extremely high expectations…I think if her were playing for the likes of Everton, Fulham or even Villa with the same stats, he would be seen as a high class player for his performance last year. I will never agree that he is of equal stature to Gerrard, Lampard or Fabregas but his stats for last year weren’t “too bad”. If he was bought to be a striker and didn’t fit what United were after, why would he still be there as someone in the starting 11? I’d say its because he fits (or should I say used to fit) what we are/were after, a tall forward who can hold the ball up and lay it off to Rooney/Owen, as well as be able to score those important goals! I myself, have total faith in SAF and believe he knows that Berbatov has much, much more to come!
            I will agree with you that if you sell your best players and don’t replace them that you generally go down…but not always! It’s a bit early to say they WILL go down…especially with the likes of Portsmouth and Blackburn (maybe even Everton as well?) sitting on the bottom and not looking like they will move too far! I also agree that we have a VERY weak squad compared with our last 5-6 years…United have a long way to go that’s for sure. But I guess you have to do with what you’ve got and trust the ones in charge know what they are doing!
            Living in Australia makes it easier for me to forgive and forget when a player isn’t playing well…especially when you have lost two of your best attacking players in one summer!

        • Huh

          August 26, 2009 at 10:44 am

          I fully agree with you in that Fergie knows what he’s doing he has proved this many, many times, but I feel he has had his hands tied in some respects. I believe he knows he needs some top draw players to replace the 2 that left e.g. Robben, Huntelaar etc(Giggs, Neville, E VDS and Scholes aren’t getting any younger ) but don’t think the funds have been made available lets not forget the owners are not football fans but businessmen and businessmen want to make money and with the sale of Ronaldo they have certainly done this! There are huge interest payments on what they owe that need to be paid ever year which takes up a huge amount of their profits so they probably see Ronaldo’s sale a mega dividend.

          I don’t think Fergie has much choice as whether he plays Berba or not you can’t really pay £31m for a player and put him on the bench because this will only affect the player and he may play even worse than before or take a strop (confidence player). Fergie is (as all utd fans are) hoping he comes good, but another year like last (especially if they don’t retain the title) they will probably look at recouping whatever money they can for him. I also believe if the player was at any of the other top 3 (the teams u mention could never afford him or his wage)then he would have been hammered by the press and fans etc. But Utd won the league so this deflects a lot of the flak to say the least! You notice all the good little flicks etc. These are great when winning but really piss you off when not doing so well lol.

          I don’ think Blackburn will go down (they may be around that area come may though) but Everton will be fighting for a place in Europe. They are similar to spurs last year with the Berba move, similar things at Everton with Lescott but Moyes is a top rate Manager so no problems there. Portsmouth on the other hand have done a Wigan and sold there best players also they have a caretaker Manager, and ownership problems which will be solved way to late to help them. By the way the new owner (or part owner as it may be) is very very rich but alas it will be to let for them. Cam don’t forget Wigan not only sold there best players they also lost a very good manager in Bruce not great but good enough to keep then in the division and replace him with a inexperienced manager from the lower divisions. My tips are bottom Wigan, next 1 of Burnley, Wolves or Birmingham with Portsmouth 3rd from bottom as they will spend in January but to late to stop the rot. Also throw into the mix Hull and Blackburn. Burnley have started well but a lot of newly promoted teams have done at first they have a what have we got to lose mentality but with time this is worn down and there small squads pick up injuries and suspensions and tyre so they generally struggle in the final 3rd of the season.

          • Cam

            August 27, 2009 at 6:09 am

            Too true! I guess Wigan could be in the same boat as Newcastle were last year (manager wise). Losing a great and replacing him with an ex-player who has no experience in the EPL could prove costly!
            Don’t get me started on the Glazers….I will be here forever!
            Just heard that Ando doesn’t want to leave…not so sure he will have much choice though. SAF never has liked to keep those who get too big for their boots (eg Beckham). Fingers crossed they sort out their differences and we can get on with our season!
            I just heard reports that Vidic could go to Barca….probably really late news over here but if its true, I will be one FILTHY united supporter. Can’t afford to let him go…

          • Huh

            August 27, 2009 at 8:42 pm

            Well cam I can tell you that Vidic’s agent has been saying Vidic wants a move to barca and that his wife is not happy in Mancheater. But the good news for you is it seems it’s just a case of a greedy agent trying to engineer a move for his player for his own benifit. Vidic has said in the Manchester Evening News that his wife is happy, and so is he at Utd and has never said anything different. But then agian maybe a slight deja vu with what Ronaldo said at 1 point. Keep those fingers crossed!!

  10. Soccergoalx

    August 24, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I think Anderson need more games and gain more experience. He can inject more energy to the team which Scholes, Carrick or Giggs cannot provide.

    • Cam

      August 25, 2009 at 4:27 am

      I dunno about that! Scholes and Giggs have plenty of energy even if they are old farts… And energy isn’t really what you are after in a footballer, sure its good to have but you want someone who can consistently give you high quality and reliability in the midfield. Something which Anderson hasn’t proven to display!
      Don’t get me wrong, Anderson is good, but he isn’t anywhere close to a Scholes or Giggs…I’d prefer to see the likes of Tosic get a game over Anderson!

  11. Bishopville Red

    August 24, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    He’s better than Kleberson…

    He took a big step backwards last year. I partly blame the Olympics, which buggered up his pre-season training. He’s known about the club as a pretty happy-go-lucky guy, and I wonder if that lack of snarl is the reason why he hasn’t turned the corner and made him a fixture in the midfield.

    I also disagree with your assessment of Fletcher. If anything, his form at the end of last year and the beginning of this one has cemented him as a “must have” in the line-up. I dare say there isn’t a team in the Premiership that couldn’t make room for him and benefit from what he brings to a game.


  12. Simon Burke

    August 24, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    i have been impressed with him at times and stunned how badly he has underperformed at others – he should be starting ahead of Uncle Scholes you’d think and yet Fergie doesnt seem convinced. I think he’ll come good but maybe not at united.

  13. PoorArticle

    August 24, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Anderson was on the pitch in Rome… you may have forgotten – that is because he was invisible… Tevez replaced him for the second half

  14. Paul (No1Fan)

    August 24, 2009 at 11:52 am

    I think you are right, Anderson needed a while to bed in and now looks pretty close to the finished article. He”ll need to prove he can score a few goals to really be the midfield general though.

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