Leeds United have been a breath of fresh air to the Premier League this season.
The Whites have played some unstoppable football at times, cutting through teams like a knife through butter.
However, if there was one criticism of Marcelo Bielsa’s side, it’s that they leave themselves vulnerable away from home against the big sides.
A 6-2 defeat to Manchester United a few weeks ago typifies that, and they failed to do much justice to their performance against Tottenham either.
They weren’t on the end of a thrashing but the display was concerning in north London. Gjanni Alioski was poor defensively, committing three fouls and Pascal Struijk showed his inexperience against the likes of Harry Kane and Heung-min Son.
However, from an offensive point of view they were also poor. It’s rare that happens but unfortunately, they lacked creativity until Pablo Hernandez came on.
Coincidentally, he replaced club-record signing Rodrigo shortly after the hour mark. The Spaniard hasn’t been firing on all cylinders since arriving but we have seen glimpses of his tremendous quality.
Yet, against Tottenham, he was poor and was brushed aside on a regular basis. Leeds Live reporter Beren Cross summed things up perfectly at full time.
“Hojbjerg bullied him in a 50/50 which triggered the second goal and for most of the game to boot. Spaniard just isn’t natural when defending without the ball and often can be seen tracking back three phases behind play. Could not pick the Spurs lock in defence either,” he wrote.
Rodrigo failed to get going and won just 33.3% of the duels he contested. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg gave him a torrid time and he was all but marked out the game.
The forward managed just one shot on target and was unable to pick up the little pockets of space which make him such a vibrant player.
Of course, Leeds will be judged more against teams in and around them but this didn’t bode well. Rodrigo needs to start producing more impressive numbers.