It took Pep Guardiola‘s side until first-half stoppage time to finally best Illan Meslier, with Rodri on hand to tap the ball in after Riyad Mahrez’s shot was pushed into his path.
Erling Haaland then set the record for the quickest time to reach 20 Premier League goals with a second-half brace, first passing into an empty net after Jack Grealish’s square pass, before a tidy finish past Meslier for his second.
Although the hosts were threatening throughout, and did deny Ederson a clean sheet when Pascal Struijk headed in to make it 3-1, the Citizens were always comfortable once they took the lead and deservedly moved back into second place in the Premier League.
While Haaland will steal the limelight once again after continuing his phenomenal goalscoring in the city of his birth, it was arguably Rodri who was Guardiola’s best performer at Elland Road.
As per Sofascore, the Spanish midfielder would earn a superb 8.1 rating for his performance on Wednesday, with only the goalscoring Haaland (8.4) rated higher.
As well as scoring the opener, the former Atletico Madrid man would enjoy 106 touches of the ball, which was the third-most of any player, and he certainly utilised that possession well, contributing three key passes and registering an 89% success rate.
The 26-year-old titan also played his part from a defensive perspective, impressively contributing three tackles, one clearance, one interception and one block in the 90 minutes.
Considering he has averaged just one key pass, 2.1 tackles and 0.6 blocks per game in the Premier League so far this campaign, it is clear that he raised his game against Marsch’s side on Wednesday.
Gary Neville was full of praise for the Spain international in 2021 when selecting him in his Premier League team of the season so far on Sky Sports.
“I think Rodri has been absolutely incredible this year at City. He’s been absolutely amazing: underrated, underappreciated, someone who does the job week in, week out. The improvement in him is massive!”
It was yet another brilliant performance from Rodri at Elland Road and while he might go under the radar as a defensive midfielder, he should take the plaudits from Guardiola after playing his part in the win.