The season has finished for Manchester United and it is time for us to have a good look back at it and see what are the things we have learned from it and what could the Red Devils do better in the following campaign. After our reviews of the seasons David de Gea and Victor Lindelof had, it is now time for United’s number three – Eric Bailly.
The Ivory Coast international did not enjoy this season that much due to constantly having injury problems, making him unable to have a good run of games in the team, which would give him the chance to maybe show if he can be relied upon next season.
Here is what we have seen from Bailly.
Eric Bailly played a total of 21 matches in four different competitions this past season. He made 12 appearances in the Premier League, five in Europa League, three in League Cup and one in FA Cup, without getting any minutes last autumn in the Champions League group stage. His total of just 1706 minutes on the pitch shows just how little he got himself to feature.
Where Bailly did well last season in terms of his numbers and underlying metrics was Interceptions and pass completion percentage per 90 minutes spent on the pitch, compared to other Premier League centre-backs. He was among the elite in those figures, intercepting 1.97 balls per match, while also being decent in other defensive numbers such as clearances and aerial duels won. But where Bailly struggled in terms of numbers was his lack of pressuring opponents with the ball, something Victor Lindelof was better at throughout the campaign. That also has to do with the styles of these two players and the way they perform.
It is never easy to assess Eric Bailly’s seasons when he so often has injury problems which keep him out of contention and without the much needed rhythm of getting onto the pitch in a run of games. This season alone, Transfermarkt noted Bailly had had injuries on six occasions. Once it was a muscle injury which kept him off the pitch from mid-October until the end of November, then he had four knocks in total, spanning from early January to late March, before he contract corona virus just before April arrived.
Due to all of these problems, Bailly missed 20 matches and also sat out on the bench many more, because he was out of rhythm and because Lindelof and Harry Maguire were making a partnership.
Eric Bailly has shown over the years he can be a decent player for Manchester United, but the injuries are happening way too often for him to ever be looked at as a player which the Devils could rely on for longer periods of seasons. Bailly’s injury woes often further prove that United need another centre-back and maybe the Ivory Coast international’s time at Old Trafford is getting nearer its end. It remains to be seen what are the plans of the club, but improvements in central defence are necessary if this team is to continue growing.