Since Sir Alex’s retirement, any of the Manchester United managers have failed to find a dependable duo at the heart of the defense. Chris Smalling, Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, all have failed to provide security on a consistent basis. Thus, Man United went all out to spend £80 million, a world-record amount for any defender, to get the signature of Harry Maguire.
Currently, Ole Gunnar Solskajaer is banking on four central defenders this season. Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly, and Alex Tuanzebe. His preferred duo for most of the games has been Maguire and Lindelof.
But since the return of Eric Bailly, fans are divided as to whom should start along with Maguire. Should it be Lindelof or Eric Bailly or should Ed Woodward dig in the transfer market and sign another defender?
Who is better? Lindelof or Bailly?
Victor Lindelof has featured in 95 Premier League games during his stay at Manchester United and kept 26 clean sheets. As compared to him, Eric Bailly has maintained 23 clean sheets in just 60 appearances. This means the Swedish centre-back maintains one clean sheet in every four games as compared to Eric Bailly’s one clean sheet in every 2.5 games.
The Swedish international, Lindelof, has been injury-free for most of his time. He is a player who won’t make rash challenges and has a good ability to read where the game is heading.
But, he does have some shortcomings as well. The biggest of all is his lack of pace. In Modern football, a manager wants his centre-backs to be quick. These centre-halves have to face strikers or wingers who possess break-neck pace.
If playing a high-line, more often than not, your team can be caught if both of your centre-back lacks pace. This is the case that happens when Lindelof and Maguire play together.
On the other hand, Eric Bailly is fierce, instinctive, and full of pace. He is one defender who plays with a lot of passion and emotions. This rush of blood sometimes forces him to make rash tackles. Being said that, the fact that he gives 100% in every game reminds us about the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.
One thing which always hinders Bailly’s success at Old Trafford is injuries. This is Bailly’s 5th season with United, yet he has made only 60 Premier League appearances. This tells us how many games he has missed due to injuries. In fact, this is only for the first time he has played four consecutive matches for United since 2017!
‘Eric Bailly’ with no injuries – Blueprint for next Manchester United signing?
The big money spent on Harry Maguire means he will be the leader of the defense for United. He offers solidarity, can make an odd run forward to break the lines, and is always a threat in the opposition’s box. One thing he does not have is pace. Thus, if Man United thinks with a long-term approach, they need a partner for Maguire who can defend well and run quickly.
This leads us to Eric Bailly who is an amazing option but his history with injuries does not help management to trust him. Solskjaer and Ed Woodward have to ponder on what type of defender they want if they decide to go into the transfer window. We believe that Eric Bailly has given them a perfect blueprint of qualities they should desire. They just need to find someone who does not get injured and perform consistently.
What is your opinion on Manchester United’s defense? Should Solskajer force the board to venture into the market and sign a new player? Let us know in the comment section below.