Scott Heavey/Getty Images
Carrick and Cleverley with Rooney
Breaking News! Manchester United have at last found the creative midfield player they have been seeking, and his name is...
He was here the whole time. For years, supporters have been singing and chanting his name and hoping against hope that the real Anderson would show up.
At the start of last season, it looked like United had found a marriage made in heaven with Anderson and Cleverley on fire. Then they both got injured, and Anderson lost his form.
Sir Alex has been dropping hints for the last couple of weeks. Anderson was man of the match against Chelsea on Wednesday, despite Ryan Giggs' stellar performance. It was just that his legs seemed to go towards the end of the match.
From the moment he came on this afternoon to save Tom Cleverley from himself, Anderson looked at his very best.
His confidence is back; he is running past and through opposition players as if they weren't there; he's cutting defences apart with scything passe; and he's hitting looping 50-yard balls in the manner of Paul Scholes.
If he can only perfect the art of scoring goals, he could well be the creative midfield player that Sir Alex was looking for when he tried to sign fellow Brazilian Lucas this summer.
The other thing that has stood out from the win at Chelsea and today is that Carrick and Cleverley, with Anderson in reserve, gave Sir Alex all the midfield flexibility that he needs.
You will recall from these columns that we have been concerned that when the manager pairs Carrick and Scholes, they both play too deep. This is mainly because Paul sits right on top of the United penalty area, even further back than Michael.
Today we saw exactly what Sir Alex has been desperate to achieve. United defended just inside their own half and built their attacking movements from the same foundation. When United play this high line, with their interchanging attacking players, they can be irresistible and unstoppable.
It's just that they lapsed back into training ground exercises across the back for much of the second half for some unknown reason.
When Carrick and Cleverley play together as they did today, they can dominate midfield. Both are good at covering and breaking up play. Cleverley is particularly tireless.
But Carrick then knows he can sit in the holding role his manager wants, without worrying that his playing partner is somewhere behind him. Tom loves to attack all the way into the opposition penalty area, linking play all across the pitch.
And when Michael has the chance to run at the defence, Tom drops back into the slot behind him.
So that means Sir Alex can play 4-4-2, 4-2-3-1 or the infamous "diamond" (4-3-1-2) at will because Carrick and Cleverley can fit seamlessly into any of them.
But the big bonus is that he can have those two and Anderson in a 4-3-3 if he wishes; he can bring on Anderson as he did today (whereupon he improved United's play) or even start him in place of Tom against lesser teams when United want to attack throughout.
Finally, although Darren Fletcher can only play one match a week at most due to his condition, Sir Alex can alternate Carrick and Fletcher at will and even, in the crunch matches, play both.
At last, it seems as if the midfield conundrum could be solved. And with Scholes and Giggs still around and Kagawa, Rooney, Young and Van Persie also prepared to drop into midfield at will during a match, we can expect to see United dominating even more sides.
They certainly had the drop on Arsenal today.