Eric Bailly has been chomping at the bit for his opportunity. Now, it could have been delivered at the eleventh hour…
Manchester United’s Champions League campaign continues this evening, as the Red Devils look to take complete command of their group.
Obviously, that’s going to be easier said than done. Atalanta are a quality side, capable of beating anyone on their day. We almost succumbed to that fate in the meeting between the sides at Old Trafford…
Ahead of this game, the Reds employed a tactical switch. United moved to a back five formation, with the defence and midfield looking far more comfortable as a result.
However, one player who played in that game will not feature here; Victor Lindelof. The Ice Man has recently been ruled out of this one with a knock.
That eleventh-hour injury issue could open the door for someone else, though. Eric Bailly has been training hard and waiting in the wings for his chance.
The 27-year-old could be offered the opportunity to make a rare start. He’s only featured in one game this term and that came in the EFL Cup. Given the chance, this could be an excellent moment for the Ivorian to make his impression.
We all know about his talents. We’ve all seen how good a fully fit Bailly can be. The former Sevilla man was undoubtedly our best defender when he was first signed by Jose Mourinho. You don’t just lose that ability overnight.
In a back five, if that’s the system that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now settled on, Bailly’s talents could be on full display. His aggressive style of defending will be far more potent as he’ll have another centre-half there alongside him, willing to cover when the Ivorian ventures out of position.
I’d keep Varane as the focal point of the defence and just slot Bailly right into where Lindelof was, alongside Aaron Wan-Bissaka. Sure, they’re different defenders, but in certain games, you need that front-footed defender. Bailly also has far more pace than his Swedish counterpart, too.
For Bailly, it’s definitely crunch time. If he cannot get a look-in when United are down a defender and playing five at the back, then he’ll never get that opportunity again.
It’s down to the coach to either start playing him with consistency, or sell him and let him play his football elsewhere. What’s the point in keeping an unhappy player on mega-money sat on the bench? It makes no sense from any standpoint.
Personally, though, I’d give him that opportunity this evening and see how he gets on. Bailly has it in his locker to start, make a positive impression and genuinely give Solskjaer a selection headache in the defensive portion of the field.
Hopefully, that forward momentum for Bailly begins tonight, because he’s too good to just rot away playing for the U23s every now and then.
Should Eric Bailly be given a chance to start tonight? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below.