Leeds United will be looking to secure back-to-back victories in the Premier League for the first time this season when they welcome Brentford to Elland Road over the weekend.
Marcelo Bielsa’s charges put some breathing space between themselves and the relegation zone after Raphinha dispatched an injury-time penalty last time out, and they’ll be desperate to build on that momentum in this intriguing encounter.
Putting the ball in the back of the net has been a major issue for the west Yorkshire outfit throughout 2021/22, though, significantly halting their progress on the pitch.
Patrick Bamford’s enforced absence through injury has been the main source of attacking frustration for Bielsa’s struggling side, but the solution to their attacking woes could be a rather simple one.
Rodrigo has shown glimpses of the true quality he possesses throughout the current campaign despite only bagging two goals in his 15 appearances.
Dubbed “extraordinary” by former Barcelona boss Quique Setien, the 30-year-old hasn’t been able to hit the ground running at Leeds since his big-money move last summer, yet his underlying numbers are indicative of the form he can produce.
As per WhoScored, Rodrigo has averaged 1.6 key passes per league game this term, 0.8 crosses and 1.8 shots, placing him in the top three for each metric amongst his teammates who have started over five games.
Indeed, after an impressive performance against Arsenal last season, former Leeds striker Noel Whelan explained just how important the £16.2m-rated gem is to Bielsa’s side.
Whelan told Football Insider: “He’s always looking for it, he’s never ever standing still, he’s always on the move and that’s what I like about him. He can’t be marked; he’s always looking for a space – very much the next Hernandez.
“He is a player that looks like he can make things happen. He’s very intelligent, he brings other people into play and makes space for them.”
After making a positive impact off the bench last time out as a half-time substitute, Bielsa must unleash the Spain international from the first whistle against the Bees on Sunday, providing Leeds with the firepower they need to secure a vital three points.