After falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool last week, Leeds United will be hoping to record their first win of the new Premier League season when they take on fellow strugglers Newcastle tonight.
The teams languish in 17th and 19th respectively before Friday night’s kick-off, and Marcelo Bielsa will no doubt be keen on finally kick-starting the Whites’ campaign at St James’ Park.
The Leeds manager will have some big calls to make over his team selection, and one decision that he simply has to make is to drop Rodrigo from the starting line-up.
The Spaniard has been nothing short of a disaster in these first few weeks of the new campaign, failing to score or assist in his three top-flight appearances, even being hooked at half-time in two of those, including last time out against the Reds.
Rodrigo endured a difficult debut campaign at Elland Road last season, completing the full 90 minutes just four times in the Premier League, while also missing a number of games either through injury or a viral infection.
After being given the chance and trust of his manager to start in the opening game of this season against Manchester United, the 30-year-old completely let Bielsa down with a truly disappointing display.
Writing in his post-match player ratings, Leeds Live‘s Beren Cross gave him a four, saying: “Had next to no impact on the game with or without the ball. Really struggled with picking up the right men when the hosts had the ball. Hooked at the break.”
It was no surprise that numerous Leeds fans slammed the Spain international for his performance against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, while he was equally ineffective against Liverpool too.
He had no successful dribbles, just that one shot on goal with which he really should have done better, made only ten passes and and lost the ball on seven occasions before he was taken off at the break.
Once again Cross was critical of him in his player ratings, this time giving him a five and saying: “If he buries that chance in the fifth minute, who knows what kind of game we would have had. Such a superb chance, middle of the goal with time, but straight at Alisson.
“A lot more head-shaking when things didn’t come off for him. Never had a handle on the Liverpool midfielders going towards his own goal.”
It’s high time for the £16.2m-rated ace to be dropped from the starting line-up.