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Anderson changes the game and earns starting place, but we’ve seen it all before

958   //    27 Nov 2012, 09:27 IST

ISTANBUL, TURKEY – NOVEMBER 20: Anderson of Manchester United battles with Nordin Amrabat of Galatasary during the UEFA Champions League Group H match between Galatasaray and Manchester United at the Turk Telekom Arena on November 20, 2012 in Istanbul, Turkey.

For the majority of Saturday’s game, we produced the worst football that we’ve played the whole season. As usual, it looked like it would take the shock of going behind to kick us into action, and even when Jamie Mackie’s header was ruled offside, we didn’t really engage our brains. Minutes into the second half, Mackie had the ball in the net, this time legally, but we still didn’t get into our stride. Things were certainly looking bleak and we had no creativity, but thankfully Anderson changed the game with his introduction alongside Chicharito.

Anderson’s had an up and down career at United; some brief glimpses of the excellent player he can be have been overlooked behind injuries, pies and general inconsistency. While I, along with many other Reds, questioned whether he was a valuable member team to our squad this year, he’s proved us all wrong when he’s had a chance to play. At half time on Saturday, a season ticket holding Red who sits near to me was telling me how Anderson would change the game. He claimed we had a bunch of midfielders who just go “side to side” and that Anderson was the only player who got the ball and ran forward with it, driving the play up the pitch.

In fairness to him, he’s got a point that Anderson penetrates the opposition like no other midfielders in our team can do, but I had doubts that Anderson, being as inconsistent as he is, was the type of player to bring on to change what had been a dire game. Of course he ended up being correct: Anderson essentially won the game for us, and he was certainly keen to let all the people around me know how right he was. While Anderson’s chances so far this season have, like in previous years, been limited – it’s nice to see Anderson go on another little run of good form.

But the challenge for the Brazilian now is keeping up these high standards. Speaking to MUTV, Sir Alex confirmed that his performance means “he picks himself on Wednesday,” and now is the perfect time for the number 8 to finally achieve his full potential. Time and time again we’ve seen little pockets of brilliance from Anderson, but as of yet, he’s failed to perform to an acceptable standard over a considerably long period of time. Whether or not this is the time where Anderson finally bucks his ideas up, time will tell.

With Fergie claiming that “Ando won the game for us” at the weekend, adding “His performance was outstanding,” it’s clear to see that he’s trying to inject an amount of confidence into the central midfielder that will see him perform to the best of his ability. Many said that this has to be the last season for Anderson to show what he can do, and this may well be Ferguson’s plea for him to do so before the January transfer market opens. Interestingly, we’ve had rumours in the last week over talks between United and PSV for Kevin Strootman, and Inter’s Wesley Sneijder is apparently back on the market, so it might be (and please excuse the cliche) ‘do or die’ for Anderson. We’ve seen it all before, but this time it might just be different. Lets hope so.

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