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Bailly's high risk defending a huge gamble for Man United | Damien Delaney

Manchester United left it late to scrape a 2-2 draw against Atalanta in their fourth group game match in the Champions League. 

Mario Bowden
Mario Bowden

23:06 2 Nov 2021



Bailly's high risk defending a...
Soccer

Bailly's high risk defending a huge gamble for Man United | Damien Delaney

Mario Bowden
Mario Bowden

23:06 2 Nov 2021

Manchester United left it late to scrape a 2-2 draw against Atalanta in their fourth group game match in the Champions League. 

Cristiano Ronaldo's wonderful 91st-minute strike rescued a point for the Red Devils. Atalanta caused huge problems for United – with Josip Iličić capitalising on a mistake to give the home side the lead in the 11th minute.

2H4G4KA Bergamo, Italy, 2nd November 2021. Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United curls the ball past Juan Musso of Atalanta to score and level the game at 2-2 during the UEFA Champions League match at Stadio di Bergamo, Bergamo. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage

Precarious Defending

Whatever of their attacking prowess failing to produce, United's defence looked ropey from the get-go.

It wasn't made any easier for the away side either when summer signing Raphael Varane was subbed off in the first half due to injury.

United converted to a back-five to a back-four, allowing the Bergamascan side to exploit holes and weaknesses. Both Harry Maguire and Eric Bailly struggled – with Bailly, in particular, raising eyebrows.

Joining OTB's Richie McCormack for the match, former Ireland international Damien Delaney admitted he had his heart in his mouth at times watching Bailly jump into tackles.

"He just goes flying into everything. Some of it is incredible, but it's so high risk," says Delaney.

"You can't say anything to him. I like him a lot and he can be brilliant. But I just want to say to him to calm down" Delaney continued.

2H4G2Y4 Manchester United's Eric Bailly tackles Atalanta's Remo Freuler during the UEFA Champions League, Group F match at the Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo. Picture date: Tuesday November 2, 2021.

United's defensive woes don't start and end with Bailly however. That would be harsh on the Ivorian. For Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer, defensive solidity has always been a problem. United have not kept a clean sheet in this year's group stages – and only two so far in the Premier League.

As speculation over Solsjkaer's future will no doubt rumble on, one wonders how many mediocre defensive displays, might cost the United legend his job.

Meanwhile, Manchester United remain top of Group F on seven points – but only on goal difference. Despite disappointment this evening, there is no time to dwell, as the Manchester derby awaits them this Saturday.

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Atalanta Champions League Eric Bailly Man City Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solksjaer Ronaldo

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