Manchester City return to Premier League action with a game against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Pep Guardiola can give the Citizens a much better chance if he restores Rodri to his starting line up.
The Spanish midfielder was left out of the squad that comfortably beat Marseille 3-0 on Wednesday, but it seems as if that was a minor fitness issue, so it would be a surprise to not see him make the squad that travels to Old Trafford.
So far this season, the 24-year-old has made 10 appearances in the Premier League, averaging a very solid 6.91 rating, suggesting that he has been a big part of City’s impressive defensive record in recent weeks.
Guardiola’s side have kept eight clean sheets in their last ten fixtures in all competitions and will be hoping for a similarly impressive defensive display when they travel to Old Trafford, especially with United having gotten the better of City in recent seasons under Solskjaer.
If City unleash Rodri in a defensive midfield role against United, then perhaps he could be the man to stop Bruno Fernandes, with the Portuguese midfielder undoubtedly the danger man ahead of the derby, when you consider his incredible start to the season.
In 10 appearances in the Premier League, the former Sporting Lisbon man has contributed an impressive seven goals and four assists, resulting in an average rating of 7.65.
This is enough to see him ranked as the fifth-best player in the top-flight so far this season, suggesting that if City can keep him quiet on Saturday, they give themselves a great chance of winning the game.
However, Rodri, who is valued at £57.6 million by Transfermarkt, has shown on occasions this season that he can bully opposition attackers out of the game using his height and strength, so if he sticks to the Portuguese attacker during the game, perhaps he can prevent him from having much influence.
Back in 2019, Guardiola was full of praise for the Spanish international, saying:
“Rodri was incredible today. We knew it but today I can assure you we have an incredible holding midfielder for the next decade or at least the years he will be here with a contract.”
Therefore, it seems clear that he is highly rated by the City manager, and if he is fit, he should definitely start at Old Trafford on Saturday.