Shakhtar show Man Utd the need for Anderson to beat Chelsea
Anderson’s ball carrying nature could prove a big asset against the league leaders
Turning defence into attack quickly was a key feature of Shakhtar’s victory over Chelsea and if Manchester United are going to profit from a similar strategy, Anderson may prove their most important inclusion at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United are 15/8 to inflict a first Premier League defeat on Chelsea this season and a win would close the gap at the top of the standings to just a single point.
Fernandinho was arguably Shakhtar’s most influential player against Chelsea, especially in the second period when his team’s game had a more counter-attacking feel to it.
The onus was on him to collect the ball relatively deep and then break at pace, linking with other speedy players in the process.
Unfortunately for Man Utd, they do not naturally have the same style of player in their ranks.
Tottenham have perhaps the best exponent in the Premier League in Moussa Dembele, while Man City have Yaya Toure and Arsenal can call on Abou Diaby for about two matches a season when he is not injured.
The only real player to perform this duty in Sir Alex Ferguson’s ranks is Anderson, who is far more of a ball-carrier than the likes of Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick and Tom Cleverley.
Anderson has only made three starts for Man Utd in all competitions this season and another two appearances in total, which means he should also be fresh and raring to go to prove what he still has to offer.
He was certainly known for his dribbling talents at Porto, which first brought him to the attention of Man Utd and was equally valuable in Portugal for his defensive and attacking work.
Things have not developed as expected at the Red Devils, partly because he has been largely utilised too defensively and progression into a more box-to-box role could reignite his fledgling career.
If Nani and Antonio Valencia are selected wide at Stamford Bridge, Man Utd will have plenty of pace to play on the break, with the inability of the Chelsea wide players to offer much from a defensive standpoint, particularly Eden Hazard, another avenue to exploit.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.