It was hard for Man Utd to find anything to smile about earlier in the season. However, that’s all changed now, with the Red Devils arguably the most in-form team in England at present.
However, it wasn’t just a case of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in and magically everything getting better at Man Utd. Genuine improvement was needed, with individual poor performances not just a symptom of Jose Mourinho’s management; but rather a real problem within the Man Utd squad more broadly.
Perhaps the most obvious example of this came in the defence. There were not two outstanding defensive choices to be the main men in the heart of the Old Trafford defence, and that was a real problem. Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly – nobody seemed to be a good fit.
However, under Solskjaer, that’s changed. A number of players within the Man Utd defence are now impressing, and BBC pundit Garth Crooks has identified two of the most impressive examples; and he’s compared them to a legendary duo.
The players in question are Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, and Crooks has been very complimentary of the pair.
As per BBC Sport, he said: ‘Eric Bailly was a nervous wreck away against Brighton earlier in the season and Victor Lindelof wasn’t much better – but the pair looked like the superb former Italy defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta at their best against a very dangerous Leicester team.’
Of course, Cannavaro and Nesta were the spine of a very successful Italian World Cup-winning team; and so this is very high praise indeed.
It must be said, both Lindelof and Bailly – last season in particular – looked out of place and out of their depth, but that’s all changed now. They’ve turned into two of the Premier League’s best, and on current form, it’s hard to identify anyone who has been as good in recent weeks.
They’ve got a long way to go, of course, but they’ve got all the makings of a classic central defensive pairing.
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