In the 44th minute of Manchester United’s Premier League tie against Wolves, Eric Bailly made a key defensive contribution that stopped the Red Devils falling behind right on the brink of halftime.
Bruno Fernandes was tackled in the final third, leaving compatriot Ruben Neves to send the ball through to another Portuguese ace in Pedro Neto.
Neto was one on one against Harry Maguire, with the England international quickly falling behind in that footrace, Eric Bailly smartly drifted over to offer cover.
But, as he did so, in a split-second moment that will be hard to notice in the footage, Bailly looked over his shoulder and spotted the lightning-fast charge from Adama Traore.
Traore had firmly left Aaron Wan-Bissaka well behind with his insane burners, leaving him in acres of space.
As Neto slowed down, with the view of picking out the winger, Bailly shifted across and capitalised on a poor pass to intercept the ball and shut down the danger.
Eric Bailly was so so good here. Checked Traore on the half-turn & noticed that Maguire had his man and decided to go to Traore’s side pic.twitter.com/rYI1xKfu0J
— Harshal kadam (@Harshal02531139) December 30, 2020
Pictures from MUTV and V Sport Premium.
This really was a brilliant passage of defensive play from the 26-year-old.
Bailly has been superb since he returned to action from injury, if the Ivorian can remain fit, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have a more ideal partner for Harry Maguire to start alongside than Victor Lindelof.
Lindelof has been decent this season, but the Swede is nowhere near as athletic as Bailly, and as the ex-Villarreal man clearly showed above, he’s quick enough to cover the relatively slow Maguire.