3. Eric Bailly - Season Review

Eric Bailly. 
Image taken from: Bleacher Report

Key Stats

Name: Eric Bailly
Date of Birth (Age): April 4th, 1994 (26)
Signed: 8th June, 2016
Appearances: 54
Appearances this season: 11
Clean Sheets: 5
Aerial Duels Won Per Game (Avg) 2.9
Pass Success (Avg): 86.7%
Contracted Expires: 30th June 2022

Analysis

Eric Bailly just hasn’t played enough games this season, which has pretty much been the story of his Manchester United career so far. For me, personally I find it frustrating because I have always hoped and believed that if he could get a run of games in the team he could flourish at United.

Eric has also seen his chances to play limited due to manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer choosing to go with Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof as his preferred centre back pairing. As mentioned in the key stats the Ivorian only made 11 appearances for United this season with five of those appearances ending with clean sheets. His best performance of the season was arguably against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge back in February, when Solskjaer decided to play five at the back in that game and Bailly played has the right sided centre back. It was a fantastic team performance that day and Eric more than played his part in that and keeping a clean sheet in the process. Solskjaer tried a similar tactic in the FA Cup semi-final game against the same team but Bailly was subbed halfway through the first half after suffering a double concussion. Towards the end of the campaign Bailly proved to be an able deputy for the injury troubled Lindelof, but when the Swede was fit he seemed to get the nod.

Overall Rating - 5/10

Ambitions For Next Season

First thing I would say is I don’t think Eric Bailly is a player that Manchester United should be looking to sell this summer. You would expect three central defenders in Chris Smalling, Marcus Rojo and Phil Jones to somehow leave the club in this window. However not only do I think he should stay but I actually believe that if he could stay fit and play to his full potential he could be a better partner for Harry Maguire at the back. With his pace and ability to dominate in the air he could potentially be a better foil for Maguire than Lindelof in my opinion.

The worry for Bailly will be if United do decide to enter the market for a centre back this summer, does this mean that the Ivorian will be further down the pecking order? Make no mistake about it though this upcoming season is a massive season for hm if he is to have a future at Old Trafford. With his contract due to expire in 2022, if he continues to have his injury problems in the next campaign United may decide to cut their losses on him next summer and move the player on, especially when you consider the mistake they made giving fellow injury prone player Phil Jones a new deal back in February 2019.

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