Date: 29th September 2008 at 9:13am
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What happened to our Anderson? Many United fans asked this question recently as the young Brazilian’s performances are not up to the standard we’ve come to expect from him after excelling in the first half of last season.

This season he was ineffective against Liverpool, error-prone against Villarreal and have now produced a colourless display against Bolton. But if it was only this campaign then we could say the Olympics, the lack of rest, the poor form of the team all contribute to it…

But the worrying truth is that since last February-March he boiled off. He was on fire between the end of September and January and thrilled us all. Brilliant 40 yard passes, inch-perfect tackles, great positioning, seemingly unlimited energy reserves… he was a star in the making, a player burgeoning with talent, anyone could see that.

Fergie always warns us that you cannot expect consistency from young players and he’s of course right. But it is now quite a long spell with distinctly average performances at best – and we expect more of the guy.

Still, it could be nothing else but a confidence problem. Seeing Ronaldo taking all the plaudits could have diminished him, his confidence. And there’s an important issue: goals.

Anderson is blessed with explosive pace and outstanding technical ability so there’s no reason why he should not score goals. Yet he hasn’t scored for United yet and this dearth is now more than a year old. I do not blame him for it: the tactics we use leave precious little chances for the central midfielders to score, it’s not like in the case of Chelsea where they have to help their not too prolific attackers (bar Drogba of course).

But this is a monkey on Anderson’s back now even though he’s not a striker. He’s a Brazilian, he loves attacking football and he wants to score goals. Opening his account would be a huge boost for him which could finally raise his game up to the levels he’s capable of.