Friday, 28 April 2017

Immense Bailly staking a claim for United's Player of the season

Eric Bailly arrived from Villarreal for £30 million in the summer as a relative unknown but has quickly become indispensable to United.

Three man of the match awards in his first thee appearances set the tone of what was to follow and - his knee injury aside - he's caught the eye with a series of impressive displays. 

Perhaps because of Zlatan's 28 goals, Pogba's price tag and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's mercurial creativity, Bailly has crept under the radar and has been the least heralded of Jose's signings. 

He's started 32 games this season and has been a hugely important presence in a defence that is one of the best in the league.

It's easy to forget he's still only 23 and in his first season in England. 

You have to be good to be good to be mentioned in the same breath as Rio and Nemanja Vidic, who rank are regarded arguably the best defensive partnership the club has had.
Both were undoubtedly the finest duo in the world in their pomp, and while Bailly is not at that level yet, his game is a majestic mix of both men. 

Aggressive, quick and strong, his positioning and reading of the game are superb and he stood tall again in the face of a Manchester City onslaught on Thursday.

With United in the midst of a defensive crisis - with Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo all injured - he was again named alongside Daley Blind as only our fit senior recognised centre-back.

Michael Carrick kept Kevin de Bruyne quiet and Bailly shackled the twin threats of Aguero and Leroy Sane superbly. 

The Ivorian was immense throughout and his highlight came in the first half when he thwarted the Argentine striker with a wonderful lunging challenge as he shaped to shoot. 

When others lost their head as tensions boiled over late on, Bailly was a picture of calm and composure and he guided United to another hard-earned clean sheet.

For the first time since SAF retired, our Player of the Year award looks set to go to someone other than David de Gea.
That's not to say that Dave hasn't been impressive, but there are other players ahead of him. 

Antonio Valencia is the best right-back in the league (only Kyle Walker is possibly ahead of him), Juan Mata had enjoyed a fine season before his injury and Zlatan has to be up there up too. 

Ander Herrera has had his best season at Old Trafford, but despite a constant change of partners at the back, the consistently peerless Bailly is staking a claim. 

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