With Jesse Marsch’s Leeds United heading into Wednesday’s Premier League meeting with Chelsea knowing that they had to pick up some kind of result at Elland Road in order to give themselves the best possible chance of avoiding the drop this season, the 48-year-old manager will be bitterly disappointed with the way the fixture panned out.
Indeed, the Whites found themselves trailing inside the opening five minutes of the match, with Reece James’ cutback finding Mason Mount on the edge of the box, before the 23-year-old emphatically curled his effort into the near top corner.
Matters were made worse for Leeds around 20 minutes later, when Daniel James’ “reckless” – in the words of Graeme Souness – challenge on Mateo Kovacic saw the Wales international receive his marching orders from Anthony Taylor – representing the second time in as many fixtures the Whites have been reduced to 10 men before the break.
From that point on, the clash was something of a Chelsea procession, with Christian Pulisic and Romelu Lukaku both getting themselves on the scoresheet in the second half, and the meeting ending 3-0 to the visitors.
As is perhaps to be expected after such a lacklustre overall performance, a number of Marsch’s players endured individual displays to forget, with James, Jack Harrison and Pascal Struijk all being particularly below-par against the Blues.
However, while it is true that it was James’ red card that ultimately sealed Leeds’ fate on the night, it will undoubtedly have been the performance of Rodrigo that left the Elland Road faithful most enraged, as the 31-year-old was completely abject over the course of the 90 minutes.
After being handed a start up top – replacing Joe Gelhardt in the XI – the Spain international did very little to convince anyone that his heart is fully focused on helping Leeds retain their Premier League status, with the forward’s body language and effort very much being that of a man who has already thrown the towel in.
Indeed, this is reflected in his metrics, with the £13.5m-rated flop managing no shots at the Chelsea goal – either on or off-target – ceding possession on 11 separate occasions, losing six of his 10 duels – a failure rate of 60% – being beaten by an opponent twice, committing one foul and making one error which led to a Blues attempt at goal.
These returns saw the Whites’ £100k-per-week highest earner average an extremely disappointing SofaScore match rating of just 6.2, while Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross awarded the Spaniard a measly two in his own player ratings, as well as stating of the Spaniard’s performance:
“A dire display and poor body language to go with it. Basic passes went astray and was too often seen languidly walking after losing possession.”
As such, with speculation concerning whether or not Rodrigo will still be a part of the Leeds squad next season starting to mount, we would suggest that – regardless of whether Leeds stay up or go down – the 31-year-old who Cross dubbed “completely anonymous” should have already played his last game for the Whites, as his performance against Chelsea made it abundantly clear his heart is not in it.