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EPL 2016/17: Manchester United defender Eric Bailly set for quick return

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The 22-year-old was initially set to miss the African Cup of Nations in January.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo
Eric Bailly has been United’s best defender this season

Manchester United have been given a huge boost with news coming in that their best defender so far this season, Eric Bailly, is set for a return to action soon. The United centre-back is all set to make a return from his knee injury and has recovered much faster than expected.

According to The Sun, the defender, who was Jose Mourinho’s first signing at United, should begin training again by next week. He also should be ready to start for the Red Devils in their Europa league game against Zorya Luhansk on December 8.

The 22-year-old defender hasn’t played for Manchester United since he was injured and taken off during the heavy 4-0 loss against Mourinho’s old club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on 23rd October. It is said, however, that the United medical staff are rather impressed by how fast he has recovered after initially ruling him out of the African Cup of Nations.

Also read: EPL 2016/17: Manchester United's fastest players revealed; Paul Pogba not one of them

A United insider claimed, “The medical staff were impressed with his progress over the recent international break. They are refusing to set a comeback date, but Bailly hinted the game on December 8 will be his return.”

The Red Devils have been depleted at the back and that has forced Mourinho to play the underperforming Marcos Rojo and even veteran midfielder Michael Carrick at centre back for a couple of games.
While Eric Bailly has made an immediate impact at United and has put in a number of strong performances for the Red Devils so far this season, it is still early in his career.

He seems to have adapted well to Mourinho’s tactics and the English Premier League and the United camp will surely be glad that he is close to a comeback. 

The stats also show how good Bailly has actually been, he averages 2.1 tackles and 3.3 interceptions a game while only conceding 1.2 fouls a game and making 0.5 blocks per 90 minutes. 

The Ivory Coast defender has quickly become an integral part of the Manchester United defence under Jose Mourinho and many are attributing their recent run of results due to his injury. United drew 1-1 with Arsenal at Old Trafford in a game they deserved to win and find themselves in 6th place with 19 points after 12 games, the same number of points they had at the same stage last season under Louis van Gaal. 

Bailly joined United from Spanish side Villareal in the summer transfer window for £30 million and has made 13 appearances for United thus far. 

(Video courtesy: Kaiizo Films)

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