Finally, after weeks of hoping it would happen, Anderson is set to start in the league for United. Anderson’s career at United has been in a fairly depressing cycle, where he hits good form, then picks up a lengthy injury that keeps him out of most or all of the season, before returning, looking overweight and disinterested. Then, as if by magic, he turns it all around again and starts to look like a real player. At the moment, we’re in the phase where he’s looking pretty sharp and his positive attacking play makes a real difference to our performances. Let’s hope an injury isn’t around the corner!
After coming on against QPR and turning the game around, the manager could no longer ignore how much better we look with the pace he brings to the game. We were 1-0 down against the worst team in the league at home. Anderson was brought on and within 15 minutes we were 3-1 up, with Ando even assisting one of the goals. He drove the ball forward from the centre of the park, running through their midfield, and asking questions of their defence. Our midfield has looked so stagnant on too many occasions, and for all the ability Carrick and Scholes have at keeping possession, when the opposition side breaks, those two are nowhere.
When Ryan Giggs was preferred to Anderson against Norwich, a costly decision in a game we lost 1-0, you had to wonder whether the likes of Ando or Cleverley were ever going to get a look in. However, after all this pleading and praise, I hope Anderson puts in a great shift tonight and shows the boss what he’s been missing.
Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are back in contention so it will be interesting to see if they get to start tonight. There’s also the possibility Antonio Valencia will return but it is likely he will be left out again because of his hip injury. Nani is also injured, meaning we may be forced to go with Ashley Young, whose having a dreadful season so far.
Javier Hernandez has the best goals to minutes ratio in the league, scoring a goal every 69 minutes on average. I’d still keep him on the bench though and give Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney the opportunity to link up more. Hernandez gives us a great option from the bench and you always feel like there’s a goal in him when he comes on, but Rooney and Van Persie are our first choice and they’ve both looked a bit rusty recently.
You imagine that City will win at Wigan tonight and Chelsea will be favourites to get all three points against Fulham, so we have to win tonight. And with this week being Eric Cantona week, marking the 20th anniversary of him signing for the club, expect to see plenty of French flags and chants of “ooh ahh” from the crowd.