Since Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira joined Manchester United from Porto back in 2007 the Old Trafford faithful have been split over the midfielder’s influence, importance and ability to be included in Sir Alex Ferguson’s first team. Gifted? Yes. Committed? One thinks so. Frustrating? Also at times yes.

However in the 2011-12 campaign thus-far, Anderson is starting to show why Ferguson splashed a reported £20 million on the South American four years ago, as the Brazil international seemingly has more of a positive impact on the Premier League champions’ fate. Manchester United stats show that the 23-year-old is starting to mature and play a more pivotal role at Old Trafford.

The United fans have missed the guile, creativity and goal-scoring prowess of the legendary and now retired Paul Scholes this term, but Anderson is starting to show that he could be the man to plug gap left by the former England international. Although there is only one Scholes to us United supporters, Anderson could well play an important role in the defence of the Premier League title this season.

United fans have been frustrated by the lack of goals Anderson contributes, and being honest it will take some doing for the eight-times capped Brazilian to equal Scholes’ eye for goal from the centre of the park. That said, Anderson has hit the back of the net twice this season and created one assist; more than any of his team-mates in the same position.

The average rating of 7.37 on painstakingly accurate statistics website is second only to Wayne Rooney in the United squad, and considerably better than that of Giggs, Fletcher, Cleverley and Carrick.

A completed pass percentage of 85% shows that silly mistakes and the loss of concentration in Anderson’s game is hopefully being stamped out at Carrington, whilst the former Gremio man makes 1.8 key passes per game. The South American’s battling qualities have never been in question, and Anderson tops United’s defensive statistics. He has made an average of 2.6 tackles per game so far this campaign, more than any other player in The Red Devils’ squad, and 1.8 interceptions per game.

The Brazilian is maturing under Sir Alex’s tutelage and now should be considered an important man in the United squad, starting with the trip to Swansea this Saturday. Stats show that the Brazilian is increasing in stature, whilst others may not have the influence that their reputation may suggest.

For the latest Manchester United player and team statistics from all competitions look to This innovative and original website breaks down player performance and rank the individual attributes of the specific participants, which is updated soon after every game.