Leeds United head into Thursday evening’s Premier League meeting with Leicester City in a disappointing run of form, as, after winning three of their opening four fixtures in all competitions in 2022/23, Jesse Marsch’s side are now without a win in their last six games.
Although, despite the 1-0 loss to Arsenal last weekend, the Whites’ performance against the table-toppers will have given the 48-year-old manager a great deal of confidence heading into tonight’s meeting with the bottom-of-the-table Foxes.
Indeed, following Patrick Bamford’s introduction at half-time against the Gunners, Leeds were incredibly unlucky to leave the game with nothing, as the striker saw an equaliser ruled out for a push on Gabriel Magalhaes, missed a penalty and initially looked to have another opportunity to draw his team level from the spot before VAR overturned the decision to award a penalty.
However, while the 29-year-old ultimately failed to pull his side level, the England international’s second-half display represented a stark contrast from the one turned in by Rodrigo in the first 45-minutes of the match – with the 31-year-old offering his side very little during his time on the pitch.
Indeed, the Spaniard saw all three of his attempts at goal blocked, completed a total of just 14 passes and lost possession of the ball on six occasions, while the £58k-per-week forward was also at fault for what proved to be the visitor’s winner – with his crossfield switch to Pascal Struijk being intercepted by Martin Odegaard, who then set up Bukayo Saka to give Arsenal the lead.
Following this display, Leeds Live journalist Beren Cross awarded the attacker a four in his player ratings – the worst given to any of the Leeds side on the day – as well as stating of the £6m-rated forward’s performance:
“What started out as a promising display turned into one of the worst errors of the season with a bizarre, pitch-wide cross from right to left, backwards into Struijk, which ultimately put the Leeds goal in harm’s way. Confidence was shattered from there on and a half-time hook seemed inevitable.”
As such, considering the Spain international’s “shocker” – in the words of Cross – against the Gunners, coupled with Bamford’s electric introduction at half-time, it would very much appear as if Marsch simply must drop Rodrigo at the King Power Stadium this evening, as the striker could well cost his side dearly in a fixture the Whites cannot afford to lose.