Signed from Villarreal in the summer Bailly was brought in to be the fast dominate center back United have lacked since Rio Ferdinand’s retirement. That was meant to be Chris Smalling but clearly he is not the heir apparent. Instead Eric Bailly has come in and made the center of defense his own.
His natural physical talents of pace and strength have been on display but he has also showed a keen sense of positioning. He consistently gets himself into the perfect spot to make headers and clearances making an average of over 5 a game. With so few defenders from these teams that have performed well Bailly was my first name on the list.
In the summer of 2015 Manchester City laid out £28.5 million pounds for the Argentinian international from Spanish side Valencia. The hope was he would come in and compliment Vincent Kompany in defense but injuries have prevented City fans from seeing that partnership very often. At just 6 ft tall he is a little undersized for a Premier League center back but what he loses in aerial dominance he makes up for in tidy passing and scrappy defending.
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He ranks 7th in the league for clearances, 9th league for interceptions and 16th for winning aerial duels. This speaks to his hunger, energy and ‘no nonsense’ style. If Man City had more players with his levels of commitment and fight then perhaps their title fight would have lasted a few months longer.
With Kompany’s on going injuries Man City decided they needed to bolster their backline. The laid out £47.5 million pounds on young English center back John Stones. This is a world record for a defender, well unless you think Gareth Bale is going to play left back again anytime soon! The City fans expected to see a burgeoning partnership with Otamendi. Instead they’ve seen Stones struggle to adjust to his huge transfer fee and Guardia’s style. Eventually Stones lost his place to in central defense to Serbian left-back Alexsandar Kolorov.
The Serb quickly became the sides most reliable defender and immediately gave them more stability and consistency. While he is prone to be exposed by pace on the counter attack he has provided City with solid cover as they waited for Kompany to return and Stones to improve.