What do Leeds United’s hybrid pitch and Rodrigo both have in common? Well, they both look tired, they are both difficult to watch and so far, they are a both proving to be a waste of money.
The ball was bobbling up and consequently, there was a lack of passing rhythm on Saturday afternoon.
Unfortunately, Rodrigo was also lacking in rhythm. The Spaniard arrived for £30m last summer; a club-record fee.
However, for the money he cost, he has not delivered. The former Valencia forward has netted just three times this season which, for a man of his quality, isn’t good enough.
Many players struggle to adapt to life in England initially and fewer managers make it tougher than Marcelo Bielsa. Whether it be Jean-Kevin Augustin, Jay-Roy Grot or Ouasim Bouy, there’s a list of players who have not made the grade under the great Argentine.
Rodrigo, of course, cannot be counted in the same category. He is playing regular minutes and he has at least scored in a Leeds shirt. That being said, he has disappointed on English shores and nothing sums that up more than his cameo against Chelsea.
Rodrigo scored twice against Wolves U23s last week in what was an emphatic return to action. Though, he was off the pace and struggled to get into the game at Elland Road this weekend.
The 30-year-old replaced the injured Patrick Bamford shortly after the half-hour mark but then he found himself substituted with 11 minutes to go. Rodrigo trudged off at the far side with a perplexed look in his eye.
Very rarely does a £30m player get brought off after being introduced as a substitute earlier in the fray. Though, it was typical of Bielsa, someone who revealed he was merely subbed because of a lack of fitness.
Indeed, you may well argue that, but the statistics make for grim reading. The Spain international now hasn’t scored in senior football since the 5-0 rout over West Bromwich Albion in December and his form is becoming a problem, especially for the price Leeds paid.
He did have one shot on target, but he never really looked like troubling Edouard Mendy in the Chelsea goal.
This isn’t the first time Bielsa has been left dissatisfied with the experienced striker, though. He was dragged off after just 65 minutes against Tottenham back in January while he was substituted on and then off again in the win over Sheffield United in September.
Leeds’ manager has never been one for routine and tradition but he has treated Rodrigo in a peculiar fashion.
With Bamford now nursing an injury, he will need his Spanish dynamo firing on all cylinders sooner rather than later.