Manchester United secured one of their biggest Premier League wins of the season against Aston Villa on New Year's Day.
What must have looked like a relatively easy fixture at the start of the season has proven to be anything but with Dean Smith's men shedding their 2019/20 skin of fighting to avoid relegation.
Instead, now, the Villans are launching an ambitious bid for European football with an astonishing run of form in 2020/21 that even saw them run away 7-2 victors against champions Liverpool.
Man Utd 2-1 Aston Villa
As a result, United's 2-1 victory at Old Trafford only looks more impressive, especially when you consider Villa threw the kitchen sink at them for the full 90 minutes.
It was, consequently, a game of fine margins with Bertrand Traore jittering the United nerves with a second-half equaliser after Anthony Martial headed the home side into the lead.
However, everything seemed to hinge on a controversial penalty as Paul Pogba looked to have gone down under minimal contact, allowing Bruno Fernandes to score from 12 yards.
Bailly's astonishing block
Then again, the spoils could easily have been shared at the 'Theatre of Dreams' if it wasn't for some fantastic saves by David de Gea and an even more dramatic block deep into stoppage time...
As you're probably aware by now, Eric Bailly produced a heroic moment of potentially season-defining importance when he thwarted what looked to be a certain goal from Keinan Davis.
We can't have been alone in already visualising De Gea picking the ball out of his net, only to see Bailly spreading himself as much as possible to smother the strike from point-blank range.
Slow-motion clip of Bailly's block
Now, I don't doubt for a second that you've watched the footage back approximately one million times - we hardly blame you - but Bailly's moment of heroism is even better in slow-motion.
That's because an alternate angle highlighted by Twitter user @ManUnitedZone_, completed with captions of what the players are saying, has been reduced in speed with glorious results.
So, grab the popcorn and kick your feet up, because seeing Bailly make the block is akin to seeing the beach running scene from Chariots of Fire - check it out down below:
Brilliant commitment from Bailly
Was Bailly a goalkeeper in another life? You can't help wondering so when you see Bailly throwing himself in front of Davis with the sort of make-yourself-big approach you'd expect from De Gea.
Either way, though, it's the type of heroic moment that makes a United player, well, a United player because it showed Bailly willing to put his body on the line for the sake of three points.
It's the kind of swashbuckling defending you'd expect to see from Nemanja Vidic and something that would even thaw away the frosty cynicism of Roy Keane's contempt for the modern game.
Hats off to you, Eric, but the proof in the pudding will be whether the United enforcer can manage to stay fit for the entire season and maintain the sort of form that saw him thrive against Villa.News Now - Sport News