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In the 44th minute of Manchester United’s Premier League draw against Wolves, Eric Bailly made a key defensive contribution that stopped the Red Devils from falling behind just on the brink of halftime.
Bruno Fernandes was tackled in the final third, leaving compatriot Rubén Neves to send the ball to another Portuguese ace in Pedro Neto.
Neto went one-on-one against Harry Maguire, with the England international quickly lagging behind in that run, Eric Bailly cleverly approached to offer cover.
But as he did so, in a fraction of a second that will be hard to see in the images, Bailly looked over his shoulder and saw Adama Traore’s ultra-fast charge.
Traore had firmly left Aaron Wan-Bissaka far behind with his crazy burners, leaving him in acres of space.
As Neto slowed down, in order to choose the winger, Bailly moved and took advantage of a bad pass to intercept the ball and stop the danger.
Eric Bailly was so good here. He checked Traore in the swing and noticed that Maguire had his man and decided to go to Traore’s side. pic.twitter.com/rYI1xKfu0J
– Harshal kadam (@ Harshal02531139) December 30, 2020
Images of MUTV and V Sport Premium.
This was truly a brilliant move from the 26-year-old’s defensive game.
Bailly has been excellent since returning to action after injury, if the Ivorian can stay in shape, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have a more ideal partner for Harry Maguire to start alongside Victor Lindelof.
Lindelof has been decent this season, but the Swede is not as athletic as Bailly, and as the former Villarreal player clearly demonstrated above, he is fast enough to cover the relatively slow Maguire.