Anderson fights for Manchester United start as Sir Alex Ferguson battles midfield selection headache

By Dean Wilkins

Despite having a surplus of midfield talent, Sir Alex Ferguson is anticipating another selection dilemma as Anderson fights to force his way into the squad.

The Brazilian playmaker was hailed as Fergie’s Man of the Match despite Chelsea’s 5-4 extra-time win in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday and is in strong contention for a place in the starting line-up against Arsenal tomorrow.

Having to compete with Tom Cleverley, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes, Darren Fletcher, Shinji Kagawa and Ryan Giggs has often left Anderson out of the manager’s plans – but his luck may be about to change.

“Anderson was the best player on the pitch [on Wednesday] until he tired,” said the Scotsman. “He needs games now and hopefully we can give him them.”

With no fresh injury concerns following back-to-back Chelsea clashes, Sir Alex is eager to finally welcome back Chris Smalling – who is return is imminent after rejoining teammates for training.

“Chris Smalling is training with the first-team squad on the football side which is good news,” Ferguson added. “He’s not ready for us yet but it’s still encouraging. We’ve got options. Chicharito is in terrific form and is improving all the time.

“The key to Chicha’s form is the decent rest he’s had in the summer.”

With last year’s 8-2 drubbing still etched in many Arsenal player’s memory, Sir Alex insists that the fluke results will not happen again tomorrow as Arsene Wenger has cracked down on defensive lapses.

“Every game against Arsenal is always a big one,” Fergie added. “It won’t be any different tomorrow.

“They have proved defensively this year that they’re a stronger, more physical team. I watched them last week against QPR and it’ll be a hard game.”

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