Once again, Sir Alex Ferguson's men went behind just after the interval. In typical fashion, the United boss earned his bronze statue by bringing on a slew of offensive substitutions to overturn a potentially huge upset.
QPR failed to record any points from a display that offered determination and grit—a storyline that became too familiar this week when Mark Hughes received the boot and Harry Redknapp was installed as manager (via Sky Sports).
Old 'Arry didn't have any input on his side today, but he'll be pleased with how they performed for the most part. The Old Trafford crowd were anxious up until Ferguson called on the considerable talents of Anderson and Javier Hernandez.
While Little Pea notched another goal from the bench, it was Anderson's performance that really stood out.
Ferguson decided to start Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher in midfield. For the second Premier League game running, these choices were wrong.
Scholes' talents need no introduction. Even at the age of 38, the Englishman still has the ability to influence his side in important matches. Darren Fletcher has worked extremely hard to recover from a crippling stomach illness, and perhaps deserved a shot in the first team against QPR.
But the duo didn't complement one another.
Both looked to get on the ball as often as possible, which only ever amounted to confusion. Poor positioning meant the pair were treading on each other's toes, leaving a great deal of space in central areas. QPR managed to break forward quickly in the first half, as United's midfield capitulated into nonexistence.
Jamie Mackie's offside goal indicated the home side were leaving too much room at the back. Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans were often pulled out of position due to the midfield's inability to nullify counter attacks. Paul Scholes was eventually subbed for producing four fouls and a yellow card.
As his Brazilian replacement trotted onto the pitch, the game changed.
Anderson's presence allowed Fletcher to play with added confidence. The Scotsman netted an emotional goal in front of the Stretford End shortly after subs were made. Interestingly for United, Fletcher's overall game improved when Anderson emerged from the sideline.
What exactly does the former Porto player offer? Considering the rest of United's midfield options, his attributes are unique.
The chubby maestro plays with surprising pace. He isn't afraid to run directly at opponents, forcing them to commit towards an important tackle. Where the combination of Scholes and Fletcher never exceeded a leisurely stroll, Anderson willed his colleagues on with a busyness and desire to get the job done.
This isn't a single occurrence. The Brazilian's natural ability to retrieve the ball and start attacking moves has improved United's flow on more than one occasion this season. He completed a pass success rate of 94 percent against QPR, contributed one tackle and provided a key pass that allowed Javier Hernandez to seal the win.
Sir Alex Ferguson must take notice of an individual who is consistently producing excellent performances. Anderson's assist is just a snapshot of what he has to offer. If the manager doesn't give him an extended role in the starting lineup soon, United fans may never see the full picture.
Does Anderson deserve a starting role at Old Trafford? Let me know in the comments section and be sure to follow me on Twitter:
All statistics in this article are courtesy of Whoscored.
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