Anderson’s failure to maintain consistency still remains a concern

There was once a day where many United fans were prepared to say that they were wrong. Many had remarked before the season that the team “didn’t have a central midfield” and would therefore not go very far in their quest to be the best side in the world. However, it was after they had swept aside Arsenal 8-2 in August where plenty were brimming with unrivalled optimism, and even despite the worrying lack of depth in the position, were at least adamant that both Tom Cleverley and Anderson made a fearsome duo. It was promising.

It’s an unlikely partnership when you think about it. Both are quite similar in the sense that they play the game with more vitality and energy, and like to get forward, whereas both Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are tasked with keeping shape, perhaps more suited to a pragmatic style. These two had first been paired together in an exhibition game against Barcelona in Washington, and what we saw were two players who showed good understanding of each other by sharing the workload efficiently. Neither was more defensive-minded than the other, it appeared, and they continued this into the second half of the Community Shield, where they were once again reunited, guiding the team to a glorious comeback from 2 goals down.

Then Cleverley picked up an injury in the 5-0 win over Bolton. From there, things became a touch awkward for Anderson as he struggled without his favoured partner and having just limped to a 2-0 victory over Norwich, an ounce of pessimism has now crept in. Is Anderson too reliant on Cleverley? Well, the Brazilian has appeared in the starting line up in games against Chelsea, Stoke, Basel and most recently Norwich where the standard has evidently decreased. It is worth noting that in all four of those games, United were largely uninspiring as a collective but Anderson, now alongside Fletcher (or Carrick as he was in the Basel game), has also looked half the player he was back in August. What Anderson must do is be able to prove he can play with whoever, and adapt to any system or style, even if that style oozes pragmatism.

On the evidence of his last four performances, it would be easy to be critical of the player. And in a way, that would be partly justified. While you can’t expect him to play well every week, for someone like Anderson – who has been something of a maligned figure in the past three years – he needs to make some sort of impression because he hasn’t really been able to do so thus far. If you look back at his previous campaigns, you’d find that he isn’t the easiest player to analyse, and, curiously, that isn’t the result of him not playing enough. It’s just that he has a good game one week, and then fades the next.

Yet, the fact that many still have faith in the Brazilian despite not really being able to maintain consistency is a testament to just how talented he is and because of this talent that fans have seen in an inspired game or even in short bursts, they are prepared to be patient on him. Others would still be concerned. Neither is the wrong thing to do.

Were you to review Anderson’s season so far, you wouldn’t have too many bad things to say. Words such as ‘encouraging’ or ‘improvement’ may well be bandied about because, in a general sense, it does indeed look like he has progressed as a player. But the same problem remains; that he’s far too inconsistent. That he struggles to assert himself in particular games. His headed goal against Norwich was vital but, in truth, it was nothing but a convenient smokescreen on what was a pretty average performance. (Some may point out that he made close to 90 passes on Saturday, but if you were to use stats alone to argue your point, it is also worth pointing out that he didn’t make a single tackle.) The greatest worry with a player like Anderson is that we know just how good he is and can be, but it still remains unclear as to whether he’ll fulfil those expectations. The legendary Carlos Alberto went further and said he has the potential to be ‘one of the best players in the world’.

Tom Cleverley is likely to return to fitness in time for United’s next game against Liverpool – it would very interesting to see just which Anderson turns up.

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14 responses to “Anderson’s failure to maintain consistency still remains a concern”

  1. stifler says :

    i too like to anaylise players..but dude..u really go into the depth. u explained a single player in ur entire blog..great work.. :)
    GGMU

  2. Rj says :

    Xavi and imitate struggle without eachother…..seriously…..u will b 1 of d first 2 scream his name!

    • 24 says :

      Yeah, Xavi and “Imitate” are great together.

      (By the way, I know you meant Andres Iniesta. When Xavi hasn’t played alongside Iniesta, he’s done pretty okay.)

  3. Rameez says :

    Spot on there. This is a replica of the nani situation, inconsistancy, but nani proved his doubters wrong and had a great season last year. Yes, he still frustrates at times,and his decision making isn’t the best in the world, but he makes things happen on the pitch and he’s really matured as a player. I really hope anderson manages to do that as well, put in one decent season, and prove the doubters wrong.

  4. Carl Mungazi says :

    I still find his inconsistency annoying considering at Porto he was quite prominent as an attacking midfielder. Now he’s seems unable to attack or defend with the same level of success.

  5. IVOR IRWIN says :

    Until Cleverley beefs up, he’s going to be kicked a lot. If Anderson wants Tom as his sidekickj, he needs to protext him better. I was at the Arsenal match and the off-the-ball mayhem committed upon Cleverley and Ashley Young was relentless. Whether Anderson has it in him to be any kind of part-time enforcer is an important question because we all know Carrick is terrified of any kind of physical contact and, though Fletcher can be a ball winner, he gives the ball away 60% of the time after taking it. Short of Ryan Tunnicliffe being express- tracked on to the team in January, WE NEED AN ENFORCER!!! I like Gojko Kacar, but there are others.

  6. law says :

    anderson doesnt defend well and is too inconsistent to be a united regular.As for Nani i feel that if fergie had stopped trying to control him too much and let him play his game just like how C Ronaldo did in his early days he might just have been as good.

  7. sc says :

    bear in mind that possession was 68-32. (soccernet), and so i don’t think there’s much room for a lot of tackling work, especially considering that norwich played the long balls forward to their strikers.

    rather, in such games, creativity is much needed, but we seem not able to find that from anderson.

    but i do think that in such games in which the defense is always over-crowded, it’s more useful to have a bit of height. hermandez’s forte is his ability to find space behind defenders, but it’s hard for him to do so when norwich are more keen to park the best.

  8. Kanya says :

    The points that you make are valid, I’ve shared similar concerns with some very close mates of mine. I feel, Sir Alex’s reliance and continued trust on Ando is somehow trickled down to many United fans – I know that I would have ensured that the midfield position was well secure at the beginning of the season; amidst Scholes’ retirement.

    But Tom came into the fore – he’s been phenomenal, and indeed Ando also pitched up. And it is quite true that he does mould better with Tom, but he has never echoed the hype that tagged along with him a few years ago. For instance; its still not rare to see the ballooned shots into the stands, the poor decision-making in crucial circumstances, the unwarranted aggression and yellow card accumulation. Its probably not fair to point these out in isolation because he has “improved” in certain parts of his game and is still a “promising” player. But we have to put in mind that, that very same position has been occupied by class-acts and he certainly needs to show much more consistency with his play.

    With that said thought, I love his energy, willingness to run all over the pitch and the passion which sometimes lacks in our team to-date. I really hope that Tom continues to show case his talent and skill on the pitch – with or without Ando next to him.

  9. Yang says :

    The reason SAF insist Anderson is simple He is such a good martial. The problem is also very simple one He lack of good chunk of stamina.

    On the ball, Anderson is as good as Neymar,can dribble, pass short or long, can keep the ball. Actually Anderson can defend, watch his first few United games he defended very well.

    Anderson cannot play long period of time. I guess several injury take some toll on him. He need to work on his stamina level, it will be one of most painful training but he seriously need it otherwise he may retire before Ryan Giggs, seriously, train hard Ando.

  10. IVOR IRWIN says :

    Anderson needs to lay off the free food Manchester restaurateers give him, especially at Brazilian steakhouses, and be home in bed early before matches, that’s why he gets knackered. He has the body of a man and the will power of an infant.

  11. bootfall says :

    i love this post….honest :)

  12. Douglas says :

    Another perspective on Anderson. Last year the mantra around the league was to have a go at ManU you have to take them on. The games were open but ManU couldn’t fully take advantage of the openness.

    This year SAF has changed the team adding more speed. Teams took ManU on with open play in the beginning of the season and got crushed. Players like Anderson, Welbeck and Young flourished. But the last few games has seen a change in the opposition’s approach. Two rows of four defending and counter attacks. The midfield is clogged. Sheer speed isn’t working the way it did in the open games and the managers around the league know it.

    It’s not so easy as it has been for Anderson to drive the team toward goal through the middle. Young is not the force he was. Hernandez (who seems to have been born offside) is not as effective with a slower, closed game. Maybe someone with Berba’s skills and control would help ManU in a congested game.

    I suspect the change in the nature of games with the opposition more defensive is in part a reason Anderson and others not to mention ManU have been less dominating in recent games.

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