Undeniable talent. Consistently inconsistent. Injury-prone. Just some of the phrases that pop up when I think of this over-weight Brazilian. Anderson plays in the middle of the park, and was bought for a hefty fee of around £20 million in the 2007 summer transfer window. He was immediately handed the #8 shirt, previously worn by Wayne Rooney, underlining his importance and the belief the club and ex-boss Sir Alex had in him. He’s never really excited the Old Trafford faithful but there are quite a few decent memories (as Paul Scholes says) he’s given us, so far. Yes, I’m talking about THAT screamer v Schalke in the Champions league semi-final 2011, the opener against QPR last season. His assist (Welbeck’s goal, quite a brilliant one) v Arsenal in that 8-2 rout. Quite a few really. Sadly, I remember more the number of injuries and poor performances than good moments as far as ‘Ando’ is concerned.
Whenever I see Anderson in the team sheet I worry about his pro-activeness. Sometimes he bombs forward when it’s absolutely unnecessary and gives the ball away, thereby exposing the flanks. He is certainly our only midfielder that willingly goes forward (forget Kagawa) and he certainly loses the ball a lot in the process and cannot hold it long enough when it really matters. He’s started a combined total of 17 games in the last two seasons and has been involved in 27 games (in total) including cameos. That amounts to 1400-odd minutes on the pitch. And worryingly, he has lost possession every 6 minutes on an average in those two seasons. That’s quite ridiculous and kind of startling when you look at Manchester United who play/played with two midfielders in the middle. Our uncertainty in the midfield cannot be overstated. On the other hand, he’s won the ball once every 15 minutes on the pitch, that is again not a statistic you can be proud of.
His creativity doesn’t impress me either. Two assists in the last two seasons is a poor return for a midfielder who loves to go forward. He’s taken 347 minutes (yeah, you read it right) and 827 minutes in the last two seasons respectively, on average, to create a clear-cut chance. He’s scored a total of 3 goals in two seasons in the league. Whenever he has a good period, an injury follows, he fails to regain form in time, and he simply cannot nail down a place in the starting line-up yet; and, with Fellaini in and possibly another midfielder in January I feel his time is up. But he feels otherwise.
Recently in an interview he said,
“Every player wants to play every game. I am the same . I am only 25 years old, but I cannot stay one more year and not play. I need to play. But you cannot demand to play, you have to be patient and when you get your chance you have to do well.The club have always been nice to me and I am happy here, but if I have to go eventually then I have to go. But I will do my best for United. I feel fit now and I just need the games, he added. If I had a good run of games then I could show I am the player I was in my first two seasons, the real Anderson.”