Without Rodriguez, Manchester City is less potent.
Manchester City lost 0-1 to Aston Villa in the 15th round of the 2023-24 Premier League (PL) season at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, at 5:15 a.m. ET on July 7. The result leaves City in fourth place.
Prior to the game, the PL emphasized Rodri’s importance to City on official social media. City have a 73.3% win rate in the 150 games Rodri has played. They conceded 0.8 goals per game, had 7.1 shots on target per game, and won 2.3 points per game. In contrast, in the 16 games Rodri missed, the team had a 56.2% win percentage. They conceded 1.1 goals per game, had 8.3 shots per game, and won 1.8 games. The difference with and without Rodri was stark.
Rodriguez missed this game due to accumulating cautions, and his absence proved costly for City. Villa played a tight 4-4-2 and pressed City to prevent them from realizing their football. In the end, City were struck by Leon Bailey and lost 0-1. With the loss, City’s win percentage dropped to 52.9% in games without Rodri.
Last season, Rodriguez was a key part of the midfield, and the team’s tactics changed when starter Joao Cancelo left after a falling out with Pep Guardiola. Guardiola implemented a 3-2 buildup system.
With John Stones and Rodri in the middle of the park, City had a solid defense and buildup system. Rodriguez supported the defense and acted as a link to the attack. He created scoring chances with forward passes and dribbles, sometimes with a direct shot on goal. In 56 games, including cup competitions, Rodri scored four goals and provided seven assists.
Rodriguez’s performance helped City have one of their best seasons ever last season. They lost the top spot to Arsenal, but they stayed in the hunt and took their chances, eventually coming from behind to win the title. They defeated Manchester United 2-1 in the FA Cup.
City was one UEFA Champions League (UCL) win away from the treble. City defeated Inter Milan on a Rodri goal to lift the trophy. City became the second English team to win the treble, joining Manchester United. Rodriguez played a big role.
Aside from this game, City lost all of their games without him. Rodriguez was sent off in the sixth round against Nottingham Forest for choking Gibbs-White. He was subsequently sent off against Wolverhampton and Arsenal, and City lost both games. In the English Football League Cup (EFL Cup), City rotated and lost to Newcastle without Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s absence proved crucial once again as City lost to Villa in the second leg.