Eric Bailly delivered the most Eric Bailly performance possible during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea.
The defender, making his first start for Man United since Paris in March, produced a fantastic performance at the back, repelling Gonzalo Higuain with that splendid mixture of explosiveness and class supporters know he can bring.
And then we got the brainless side of Bailly, the Ivorian flying madly at a loose ball and seeing his knee crushed by the boot of Matteo Kovacic in the process. He was down for a while with what looks like another serious knee injury.
Once again, United fans got the brilliance and madness of Bailly in one strange package.
Eric Bailly’s game by numbers vs. Chelsea:
100% aerial duels won
100% pass accuracy
100% tackles won
6 ball recoveries
A real shame for his game to end with injury. 🇨🇮 pic.twitter.com/z1lV28E6lr
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) April 28, 2019
Against Chelsea he was the perfect partner for Victor Lindelof: physically imposing, mentally tough, an enduring stalwart repelling the visitors from coming anywhere near De Gea’s goal, almost visibly reducing the space in which the visitors could play. In these moments, you see in Bailly a player who could exert the same kind of influence over this United team that Virgil van Dijk has brought to Liverpool.
One important caveat, though: he is permanently injured. Do United take the risk and keep him, or will they decide Bailly is no longer worth it?