A Brazilian midfield debate: Anderson or Lucas

Anderson

Arrival – Anderson came to United with massive expectations and an equally big price tag. Hailed as the new Ronaldinho by those who had never seen him play before, that was already a huge weight of expectation on his young shoulders and in all honesty he hasn’t lived up to these expectations – yet.

His goal that saw Gremio promoted back to top flight football in Brazil as well as his performance for Porto against Arsenal in the Champions League were many people’s basis for making a judgement on him, hardly enough!

Anderson’s time at Old Trafford has been tumultuous to say the least. He has put in some great performances against some of the country’s best midfielders spawning a song detailing him, Fabregas and something you might see in a Japanese skin flick and it was recognised as he was awarded Tuttosport’s Golden Boy award as Europe’s best u21 following his first season.

Weaknesses – Those of us experiencing the highs of these performances were quickly brought down to earth in the Champions League final in 09 where he was made to look ordinary by Barcelona and their superstars but Xavi, Iniesta and co could have done that to most if not all and for me was all part of his learning curve.

For a young player his lack of consistency is no major concern, it happens but having already seen that he poses considerable talent I’m more interested in seeing him put together a strong run of appearances which he seems to be doing at the moment. He hasn’t been helped by injuries, supposed off field issues like the car crash this summer as well as uncertainty over his position but his attitude appears to be right and it is benefiting him as well as the team.

Strengths – Anderson has displayed his talent; he can pass both short and long range and is a lot more imaginative with his passes even if they don’t always come off. Against Blackburn his pass stats were 99 attempted 95 completed, even Scholes would have been impressed! He is also very direct with his dribbling as Valencia found out as he seemed to glide through their midfield which is added by his physical strength and he also can tackle which is a plus for an ‘attacking midfielder’. The only thing that is disappointing for me is his lack of goals, having only scored 3 (2 official) in his spell here is disappointing but I feel this is something that will be rectified. I doubt his goal against Valencia will open the flood gates but once you’ve hit the back of the net, it does get easier.

Overall: I can see why people may think Lucas is ahead of Anderson in terms of his development. Anderson’s career has been pretty stop start. If Lucas is ahead in terms of development, then the gap between the two isn’t that big and it doesn’t necessarily mean that he is a better player. Anderson has a higher calibre of midfielder to compete with whilst Lucas doesn’t have as much competition for his place in the Liverpool midfield.

As players I feel Anderson offers way more than Lucas, who to me is quite one-dimensional. Anderson also has a lot more to come whilst I don’t see Lucas suddenly becoming more dynamic.

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