In his pre-match press conference Ole Gunnar Solskjaer declared Eric Bailly ‘available’ for selection.
When it came naming his team selection at the Hawthorns, Bailly had to settle for a place on the bench.
Within minutes this looked like a poor decision. Victor Lindelof was beaten to a header by Mbaye Diagne who put West Brom 1-0 up.
Lindelof appeared to be fouled, with Diagne having his hand in his face, and yet, this felt all too familiar.
How many times have we seen Lindelof overpowered by physical strikers during his time at United?
This is the type of goal Eric Bailly would never allow to happen. Bailly just wouldn’t let an opposition striker foul him like that.
Bailly would have shown more desire to win the header in the first place. Lindelof was rooted to the spot and allowed Diagne to get on top of him.
This was the cautious choice from Solskjaer to stick with Lindelof after Bailly’s last fortnight out injured.
It’s very possible Bailly comes back in for the Europa League against Real Sociedad in midweek, he needs games.
Bailly began 2021 in fine form and has seen this progress hampered by his recent injury.
One frustration United fans have with Solskjaer is that when both Lindelof and Bailly are fit, the Ivorian usually ends up on the bench.
He needs to end the season strongly to change Solskjaer’s mind, especially with the likelihood of a new defender arriving in the summer.
Managing to stay fit would be a start, but when he is healthy, Solskjaer needs to be more confident selecting him. Lindelof still has big question marks hanging over him.
United fans wanted Bailly
Here is a look at some of the social media discussion about Bailly after West Brom’s opener