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Emi Buendia – the saviour to Arsenal’s creative crisis?


After the deadline day purchase of Thomas Partey, Arsenal’s creative woes have really come to the forefront. Many names have circulated the papers, yet they all seem unviable. Emi Buendia is name which seems both reasonable and exciting.

This report will analyse Norwich City’s Emi Buendia and where he could fit in at Arsenal.


Emiliano Buendia, is a 23 year old, right footed winger, from Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Buendia started his career at Getafe CF, making his debut in the B team during the 2013/14 season. The following season (14/15), Buendia made his first team debut and went on to make 6 appearances, with 127 minutes of action. In the 17/18 season, Buendia left Getafe on loan for Cultural Leonesa. Across all competitions, Buendia played 42 games, accumulating 3213 minutes of actions. In the very same season, Buendia scored 7 goals and got 12 assists. In the 18/19 season, Norwich City bought Buendia for £2.25 million, whilst in the Championship. At Norwich, Buendia impressed and in 41 matches, he scored 8 goals and assisted a further 17 times. In the 19/20 season, Norwich got promoted to the Premier League, where he played 39 games, scoring 1 goal and assisting a further 8 goals.

So far this season, Buendia has played 12 games, amassing 1102 minutes of action. This season, Buendia has scored 3 goals, matching his expected goals of 3.36 and 3 assists, with an expected assists of 2.66. Since the 16/17 season, Buendia has only missed 22 games through injury, showing good consistency.


At 5’6 and with a strong frame, Buendia can both hold off his opponents and utilise his low centre of gravity to keep the ball close to him. Despite Buendia’s small stature, he still engages in 3.9 aerial duels per 90 minutes. However, he has only own 27% of his total 48  aerial duels this season. None the less, this shows his appetite to compete, and he tries his best to win the challenges, despite the at times mismatch.

Buendia has good bursts of pace and uses his body and intelligence to get away from his opponent and win a half yard of space, from which he can get his passes away and find a teammate. Buendia wont sprint for long periods of time, like Aubameyang might, but rather he jolts past his opponent, with quick changes of direction, before laying the ball off. These high intensity short sprints, are evident even in the latter stages of games and are incredibly effective, especially in a packed midfield.


Technically, Buendia is very good. His involvement in the game, is shown through his 51.61 passes per 90 minutes, of which he executes 78.95%. This is a relatively low success rate, and  might be due to opposition teams playing with a lower block against Norwich, or that they try to crowd him out. This being said, sometimes Buendia does take risks and looks to play left field passes, which he doesn’t always get right. Regardless of this, the fact that he sees and tries these passes is impressive enough. A lot of Buendia’s contributions come after quick combinations in the central areas, before he switched the ball out wide to the left back or left winger. This season, Buendia has played 3.8 long balls per 90 minutes, successfully completing 46.8% of his total 47.

Regarding chance creation, Buendia mainly plays inside, off the right hand side, similar to Willian’s position. Consequently, the width is provided by the fullbacks and therefore he has only attempted  6 crosses, with 3 being successful. Buendia isn’t the type of player to take on opposition, but rather draw them onto him, before finding a teammate. In the process this creates space for his teammates. This season he has attempted 3.1 dribbles per 90 minutes, executing 71%. Additionally, Buendia battles through 10.78 offensive duels per 90 minutes, winning 48% of them.

Emi Buendia - the saviour to Arsenal's creative crisis?

This image highlights Buendia’s intelligence. He drops off the line, between two Sheffield Wednesday players, before playing a first time pass out wide, into space. Buendia’s ability to find space, forces a decision making complex for the Wednesday players. None of the Wednesday players know whose job it is to mark him. This is due to his clever movement between two players and between different lines. Upon receiving, Buendia knows the exact picture ahead of time and finds the left back with a perfect pass.


Offensively, Buendia is always looking around. He gets his head up and looks for space both to receive and for his next pass. Buendia’s aggression and bite, does tend to lead to yellow, and subsequently red cards, but he has tempered this of late. Buendia does play on the edge, which smarter opposition may look to exploit, however this does present something other Arsenal players don’t have – that nasty side. Something so sorely missed.

In the press, Buendia is very aggressive and when he and Norwich engage in the counter press, Buendia is very effective. Buendia breaths down the neck of his opponents, forcing mistakes and capitalising. Seemingly, this gives energy to his teammates as they too, move up for the press and follow his lead. His body language shows a man who gives everything to regain the ball, especially in the oppositions defensive third. Furthermore, he feeds off the crowds energy and typifies their passion. On the occasion Buendia’s teammates don’t follow up behind him, his body language does reflect his frustration and annoyance. Ideally, he would look to encourage and gee up his teammates and make sure they followed him up the next time.

In and out of possession

In possession, Buendia is fundamental to the progression of the ball out wide. He helps create diamonds in the right wing position, unlocking the third man run of the fullback, who is either in space or is looking for the ball over the top. This is something Arsenal have been struggling with, as they look so rigid. Buendia counters this, with his fluidity and space manipulation, utilising his intelligence and technique. He would much better progress attacking moves down the wing for Arsenal.

Out of possession, Buendia sits on the right side of a 4-1-4-1 and looks  to jump out of the block and press his man. If this is poorly timed, then space can be exploited, but more often than not, he executes it perfectly. Due to this, Buendia is rarely flat footed, meaning he can quickly join counter attacks, or punish poor passing mistakes. One of Buendia’s biggest out of possession attributes is how well he uses his cover shadow. He blocks the potential receiver well, and shows the opposition into traps or away from danger. Buendia’s defensive output can be shown through his 3.92 interceptions and 5.7 ball recoveries per 90.

Emi Buendia - the saviour to Arsenal's creative crisis?

This image shows Buendia as the tip of a fluid diamond. The diamond looks to move and drag the oppositions defence, before unlocking a player for a final pass. Buendia’s movement in relation to his teammates, opposition and the ball is phenomenal.

Where does Buendia fit in at Arsenal

As we all know, Arsenal are in dire need of a creative spark. A player who can shirk a couple of tackles and find that killer pass for a forward runner. Buendia can receive between the lines, attract opponents, lose his marker and find a good pass. As well this, Arsenal really struggle against low blocks, therefore having players who can receive under pressure and maximise minimal space is vital.

Regarding his position, Buendia would most likely play in one of the front three positions, probably off the right, where Willian currently is. Saying this, Mikel Arteta expressed his desire to play a 4-3-3, once he has the correct personal. Presumably, two of the midfield three, would be ‘loose 8’s’, which operate in the half-spaces. With Thomas covering, Buendia could easily fulfil this role. Additionally, Arteta spoke of ‘aggressiveness’ and ‘effectiveness’, in order to get the best out of the 4-3-3. Buendia most definitely fits this role. Alternatively, Aretha might  play Buendia wide on the right wing, however, this would not get the best out of him, especially as he likes to be heavily involved in play both deep and high-up the pitch. This would likely see him drop deeper to get on the ball, losing Arsenal their balance and causing Arteta frustration.


In conclusion, Buendia would be a very good signing for Arsenal. His technical capacity, allows him to both be the catalyst to create, but also keep Norwich ticking when in possession. Buendia won’t score a lot of goals himself, but he will either directly get assists for his teammates, or be involved in high quality chances from deeper in the move.

Buendia would make an excellent addition to the Arsenal ranks, especially if the likes of Szoboszlai and Aouar, are priced out of the move, or choose to move elsewhere. Currently Transfermarkt value Buenda at £11.70 million, which is grossly under his value. Given his importance to Norwich and that they sold Ben Godfrey to Everton for £30 million, I imagine they would ask a similar fee for Buendia. A realistic fee would be around £20-25 million. That would still make him a bargain and a real asset to Arsenal.

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