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Anderson Guilty of Another Missed Chance at Manchester United

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Anderson of Manchester United in action during the FA Community Shield match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
Rob DawsonManchester United CorrespondentSeptember 15, 2013

The Manchester United fans went to Old Trafford on Saturday to hail their new midfielder—but they ended up reunited with another.

Those supporters who were searching the team sheet for Marouane Fellaini's name before the game against Crystal Palace were perhaps surprised to see Anderson's name instead.

It was the Brazilian's first start since the final day of last season. And it was his first real chance to impress his new manager. It was an opportunity to show Moyes that the answer to United's midfield problems had been under his nose all along. But unfortunately for Anderson, Moyes won't have left Old Trafford on Saturday afternoon thinking the £27.5 million he spent on Fellaini was a waste of money.

Anderson is a seductive character. 

His big smile and samba attitude make him easy to love and there's not one United fan who's not desperate for him to succeed. But they've been waiting for six years.

He started well after arriving from Porto for nearly £20 million in the summer of 2007. Fans still sing about him being their midfield magician and the day he got the better of Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, although they phrase it rather differently.

But they are compliments based on that first season, when the inconsistency could be put down to youth and inexperience. But he's not a teenager anymore. And at 25, it can't be used as an excuse.

Anderson, in full swing, is a terrific sight.

On song, he charges through midfield, with his head up, looking to slip a pass through to Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie or Danny Welbeck. He's combative too, racing around to win the ball back. He makes himself a nuisance and gets in the face of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and, of course, Fabregas.

But the downside is that he doesn't do it very often.

He can do things that United's other midfielders can't. He's more adventurous than Michael Carrick, Tom Cleverley and Fellaini.

And while that can get fans off their seats when it comes off, it can also be his downfall. He tries to force passes that aren't there, instead of keeping the ball moving and finding another way through. And he can be guilty of giving the ball away too easily, as he was against Crystal Palace.

He'll find first-team opportunities limited now Fellaini has arrived to add more competition.

Moyes gave him a chance to get a head start on Saturday. But Anderson will perhaps see it as an opportunity missed.

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