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Talking Tactics

How Rodrigo can thrive in Bamford's absence

Adrian Clarke 30 Oct 2021
Leeds TT

Adrian Clarke says Leeds forward's clever runs can ease absence of injured team-mate at Norwich

Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 10.

Rodrigo (LEE)

Leeds United's match at Norwich City this Sunday provides forward Rodrigo with an opportunity to showcase his goal threat in Patrick Bamford’s absence.

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The 30-year-old scored his first goal of the campaign with a stoppage-time penalty to equalise against Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, but is still in search of his first strike from open play.

Last season, Rodrigo netted seven times in 14 starts. However, this term his main impact has been as a creator for others.

Against a Norwich side who are averaging 2.55 goals conceded per match in 2021/22, it is a good chance for the Spaniard to make a big impression inside the final third.

Rodrigo penalty v Wolves

Rodrigo is at his most comfortable coming short to receive passes, where he excels in linking up with others.

So, whenever he is charged with filling Bamford’s boots, he operates as a false nine of sorts.

A look at the stats shows Rodrigo is Leeds’ most creative player this season, creating an impressive 2.3 chances per 90 minutes.

Only three Premier League forwards - Mohamed Salah, Michail Antonio and Raul Jimenez - produce key passes on a more frequent basis.

Rodrigo creative statistics
Rodrigo Per 90 Leeds rank
Chances created 2.3 1st
Chances created in open play 2.15 1st
Shots 1.84 4th
Touches in opp. box 3.22 4th

At Carrow Road, Rodrigo will strive to increase his number of involvements inside the hosts' penalty area.

Although he must add more goals to his game, his sharp movement opens space for Leeds' midfield runners.

The industrious Spaniard makes intelligent runs into the wide areas, and can regularly be seen dragging defenders out of position.

His willingness to also make sprints and chase as a matter of course means that he gives defenders plenty to think about.

Leeds sprints and pressures statistics 
Player Sprints per 90 Player Pressures per 90
Raphinha 29.1 Kalvin Phillips 41.5
Daniel James 25.6 Rodrigo 34.5
Rodrigo 25.5 Patrick Bamford 30.9
Patrick Bamford 23.3 Daniel James 28.7
Mateusz Klich 21.0 Mateusz Klich 27.1

Leeds captain Kalvin Phillips is the only player to commit to more pressures for his side than Rodrigo.

Rodrigo still has a way to go when it comes to matching Bamford's ability in front of goal, but he will be a vital component of Leeds' attack against Daniel Farke's Norwich team.

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