Eric Bailly survives 90 minutes for Ivory Coast ahead of Manchester United clash

Raphael Varane’s injury for France has created a defensive headache for Manchester United, with Harry Maguire already battling fitness issues.

The good news is United have Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly available.

The worrying part of this yesterday was that Bailly still had an international match to play.

Bailly has a poor injury record and United fans have seen some of these materialise while he was playing for his country.

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images


Bailly makes it through unscathed

The good news is Bailly has made it through 90 minutes as Ivory Coast beat Malawi 2-1.

United could not afford for Bailly to join the injured list and the defender coming through the game unscathed is a welcome relief.

He will still need to be assessed upon his return to Carrington and make it to Saturday’s game without picking up any injuries in training – with Bailly nothing can be ruled out – but at the moment he is on schedule to be available.

Bailly picked up a booking in Ivory Coast’s 2-1 victory, which saw Franck Kessie score a second half winner from the penalty spot after Nicolas Pepe’s early opener.

Ivory Coast now sit top of their World Cup qualifying group by a point ahead of Cameroon.

Bailly ended up with an assist in the win after his long punt forward was missed by the Malawi defender and Pepe scored a one on one.

Bailly back alongside Lindelof?

Both Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane will undergo fitness tests ahead of the weekend.

But the most likely scenario is Bailly and Lindelof will start the game at Leicester.

The King Power Stadium is the scene of one of the duo’s best ever performances as a partnership.

Bailly and Lindelof were highly effective in February 2019 during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s caretaker run, with United winning 1-0 thanks to an early Marcus Rashford goal.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

The duo shut out Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes to keep a clean sheet.

While their pairing did not quite work out as well in the Europa League final, or in the recent Carabao Cup match with West Ham, it’s a partnership which at least has some experience playing alongside each other, and as a temporary measure is not a bad fix.

Back in 2019 it looked like United’s first choice pairing at the time, before a late season Chris Smalling renaissance. Now as a back-up option, they should do just fine.

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