Harry Maguire’s excellent performance for Manchester United against Everton outshone teammate Victor Lindelöf.
While Maguire made 15 clearances at the back, the Swede made just two. Not for the first time this season, a physical opponent caused Lindelöf problems.
This is a big week for Lindelöf as his place in the derby next weekend could be at risk.
First lets look at the positives. Lindelöf has already played in two victories over City this season, and he was particularly impressive in the 2-1 league win at the Etihad.
United could line up with three central defenders against City at Old Trafford, which would enhance Lindelöf’s chance of starting.
The unavoidable threat for Victor Lindelöf is Eric Bailly’s return to fitness.
Adding to this, Axel Tuanzebe is also on the verge of a return and could even feature against Derby in the FA Cup on Thursday.
Lindelöf may get the nod against the Rams, and this could be bad news for the player United spent £31 million to sign in 2017
United are still managing Bailly’s fitness sensibly, and this means not starting him twice in four days. After featuring against Club Brugge, he was never going to feature against Everton as a starter.
So this means if he sits out against Derby, Bailly could well be in line to start against City on Sunday, possibly at Lindelöf’s expense.
Even if Bailly does feature against Derby, and does well, it puts more pressure on Lindelöf. The Swede has to step up, or lose his place.
There is real competition for places alongside Harry Maguire at the back. That’s a good thing, and it means Lindelöf has to be excellent on a weekly basis. If he’s not, which he wasn’t on Sunday, his spot becomes up for grabs.
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