Eric Bailly getting through three matches unscathed in a week is a big ask
With Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane out injured, Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly will be tasked with getting Manchester United through a testing period.
The club announced yesterday that Varane will be out for ‘a few weeks’ and our club captain remains out with a calf injury.
That means the Bailly and Lindelof partnership who have only played together once this season, which was the Carabao Cup defeat against West Ham, will be our centre back combination as we embark on a tricky run of fixtures.
Eric Bailly has to stay fit
Beyond Bailly and Lindelof, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would have to call on Phil Jones, who hasn’t played a senior game since January 2020, or youngster Teden Mengi.
With games against Leicester, Atalanta and Liverpool coming across an eight-day period, Bailly coming through these matches unscathed is going to be crucial.
With there being six days in between the Liverpool clash and our next match against Tottenham, Maguire could well be fit enough to return for then.
But Bailly and Lindelof will be posed with different challenges across each of these next three matches.
First it will be the pace of Jamie Vardy, who will be constantly on the shoulder looking to run in behind our defence.
Against Atalanta it will be the physicality and quality of Duvan Zapata and against Liverpool it will most likely be the interchanging of positions from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Diogo Jota.
Bailly hasn’t played three consecutive games for United since the festive period last season where he looked back to his best and denied Keinan Davis a last-gasp equaliser against Aston Villa on New Year’s Day with a goal-saving block.
The Ivory Coast international was mobbed by his teammates following the final whistle and it looked like he could go on a real run in the side, but that didn’t materialise.
Bailly’s last Champions League appearance for United was that famous night in Paris back in March 2019 when he was brought off injured after 36 minutes.
The problem with Bailly is that he is an enigma, he could easily dominate all three matches and look like one of the best defenders in the world, but he also has the ability to do something rash and end up taking himself and Lindelof both out with a reckless aerial challenge.
We need Eric Bailly more than ever during this period and hopefully his body can stand up to the challenge and he leads us to some big wins.
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