Victor Lindelof’s performance against Crystal Palace has opened the door to a first team spot for Eric Bailly.
Against Luton Town, Bailly was brought in and performed impressively as United earned a 3-0 win.
Bailly was key to the clean sheet, making a key clearance off the line to keep the score at 1-0, after Dean Henderson had made an initial save.
As good as Henderson’s save was, the ball fell to a Luton player who looked certain to score from close range. Bailly though had quickly got back onto the line, and adjusted to sidefoot the ball clear from danger.
It was an instinctively alert and smart piece of defending, and one which on recent form at least, Victor Lindelof would not have been capable of.
What more can he do?
Bailly answered the question impressively and came through another 90 minutes without injury.
Fitness really is the only mark against him at this point. It’s clear he is United’s best option to partner Harry Maguire, and that it was a mistake not starting him against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
He just has a natural instinct to hunt down danger and shut it down. Sometimes that can get him into trouble with a booking, or even an injury, but that is better than being slow and hesitant.
Bailly also has strength and pace which Lindelof does not, and is a better complement to Harry Maguire.
Against Luton he made two tackles, two interceptions, and three clearances. No United defender topped those figures in any category.
He won two aerial duels and was named Whoscored.com‘s man-of-the-match.
As far as the court of fan opinion goes, United fans have made up their minds that Bailly must start at the weekend. Hopefully Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feels the same way…
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