I see a lot of resemblances to Kasparov/Karpov 84. Karpov really taught Kasparov a serious lesson in the early stages of that match.
"Yes, you can beat the rest, but this is a match and i'm the King here!"
Carlsen and Kasparov don't make an easy comparison. Kasparov was an exceptional player, but his main strength was his psychological domination. He played like Tal in a lot of ways, Carlsen is a different kettle of fish altogether.
Anand has lost the World championship probably more time than he's won it (i don't want to get into specific counting here...anyone who has followed chess over the last 20 odd years will know what i mean).
The most telling moment in Anands career, for me, is not his winning the WC, or defending it. Not his loss to Kasparov. It was his loss to Karpov in the FIDE WC (can't remember that year, but it was during the 90's while the championship was still split between two federations...)
Anand came through a 100 player knock out (!!!!) and faced a totally fresh Karpov at the end. I've played through a lot of those games, Anand was electric! The odds were totally stacked against him in the end, Karpov was fresh as a daisy when they sat opposite each other. This is a testament to Anand. He lost this match, lost to Kasparov (was spanked!), all this, but he came back stronger. He has gone through the 'all conquering' tournament player phase and learned that fighting for the World championship is nothing to do with that. Winning a match when you are one of the two best players in the world, is not a tournament!
Carlsen is a fantastically gifted player! I feel his temperament will suit a match situation, his style is so pragmatic. But Anand is still an exceptionally hard man to beat!
I can't help feeling that Carlsens move to 'pinch' Anands second (Peter Hein Neilsen) may come back to haunt him. While i can appreciate Carlsens motives, PHN was one of his coaches as a junior, also he comes with lots of inside knowledge of Anands preparation technique, etc....
However, I can't help feeling that Anand is really in need of an 'airing of the closet' if you will. It just might happen that, by forcing Anand to recruit a new back room team, you might actually end up rejuvenation the whole package! Kramnik, over the last two years, has shown that these older guys are very capable of adapting to new circumstances. Kramnik probably should have beaten Carlsen in the Candidates, he was more consistent, but chess needs the Carlsen story. A young 22 year old prodigy, playing for the World championship? That is great copy, if the professional game is going to attract sponsors, we need this sort of publicity!
While i have lamented Anands demise over the last few years, coming into a World championship match as the Champion AND the underdog, might just spur this old Lion onto one last Blood stained victory! Whoever wins, there is no doubt that it will be epic!! I really can't wait.