Manchester United have kept just one clean sheet in their first four games of the new Premier League season, conceding four goals in the process.
Asides the unstoppable Ruben Neves pile driver and De Gea’s butterfingers against Crystal Palace, Victor Lindelof has been guilty of the two other goals they have let in.
Jordan Ayew was through on goal after a header on by Wilfred Zaha who beat Lindelof easily in the air.
The next fixture against Southampton, he lost to Jannik Vestergaard once again in the air and United conceded the equalizer. You could forgive him for the one against Southampton. The Danish centre half is 6’7.
The Swede has not been entirely bad this season, in fact, he has been decent but with Harry Maguire in the side, he will be more of a target for attackers due to his physical weaknesses.
United still have other defenders in the team and it is not too late to consider other partners for Maguire.
Eric Bailly returns from injury in December and when he is fully fit, he is arguably United’s best defender. Or at least the best partner for Harry Maguire.
Since his debut 2016/17 season, the Ivorian defender’s time has been blighted by several injuries.
On his day, he is a strong athlete that is combative and dogged defensively. Not only that but he is also decent on the ball with an 85.7% pass completion rate since his whole Premier League career.
When comparing Bailly and Lindelof on the surface, you would say that Lindelof is the smarter defender while Bailly is the tougher one and the stats will further prove that assessment right.
The number one barometer to judge a defender is how many clean sheets he has managed to secure and Bailly wins in that department, shutting out the opposition more times than Lindelof. He has 20 clean sheets in 50 games while Lindelof has 11 in 47 games.
Overall defensive stats like tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances are dominated by Bailly. The surprising stat to point out is Lindelof had more headed clearances and aerial duels won.
He is always a target in games when long balls are played so it is probably the reason.
Both players use the ball pretty well but Lindelof is the clear winner when it comes to on-pitch smarts and use of the ball.
He has more touches, forward passes, and has been dispossessed fewer times than Bailly.
Bailly’s stats are not as good as Lindelof’s when it comes to how well he can use the ball but it is very decent. Good enough at least to play alongside Maguire in defence and not be worried he will lose the ball.
His specific strengths are what United need right now but will have to wait till the end of the year for him to return and till next year for him to gain full fitness. When he does, he will definitely be a shoo-in for a place in the starting lineup for the Red Devils.