Mixture of brilliance and anger as Buendia desperately tried to impress for City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Emi Buendia was the player who was most likely to unpick the lock during a frustrating 1-0 home defeat to Derby but the Argentine was also the most frustrated Norwich City player as he desperately tried to impress during his return to Daniel Farke’s starting XI.
After finally seeing the 23-year-old back in action, no one can argue he wasn’t fighting. It was perhaps more that his determination to impress was causing his frustration to boil over at times against Derby.
The latest clubs linked with interest in him ahead of the game were Fenerbahce and Villarreal, ahead of the European transfer window closing at 11pm on Monday, with scouts likely to be watching the online stream of the game.
A nicely weighted early pass to complete a one-two with Onel Hernandez didn’t quite bring a shooting opportunity for the Cuban winger in the second minute and soon after Buendia was tracking back, clipping Rams winger Kamil Jozwiak and being relieved to see Christoph Zimmermann head away Wayne Rooney’s subsequent wide free-kick.
It was a fast start from City against a team without a win and Farke was furious that a free-kick was given against Buendia in the fourth minute, after a nice one-two with Marco Stiepermann set Hernandez away and he rose at the back post but couldn’t make contact with his head, with a foul given before Max Aarons could shoot.
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A classy turn away from two markers in the ninth minute allowed him to slip Teemu Pukki into the right channel and the striker’s low cross to the back post was just cut out by Nathan Byrne with Hernandez charging in.
It was a bright start as Buendia was finding the pockets of space in which he thrives in the opposition half, but a through-ball to Pukki was intercepted and a pass with the outside of his foot forced Hernandez too wide
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In the 16th minute he used his strength to help out defensively and allow Aarons to clear the danger, before a lovely back-heel four minutes later, allowing him to clip in a left-footed cross which Pukki couldn’t quite turn goalwards with his head.
There was an injury scare in the 31st minute, as Buendia and Jozwiak clashed shins in a challenge, but both were okay to continue after treatment.
Aarons was looking an assured presence in defence and the latest in a succession of successful aerial duels got the ball down to Buendia, only to be robbed in his own half by Graeme Shinnie and needing to be thankful for Oliver Skipp’s excellent tracking to win back the ball.
The clouds of frustration were starting to gather, with a scream of frustration ringing around an almost empty Carrow Road in the 37th minute, seemingly for not receiving a pass in space as Ben Gibson cleared his lines.
It was an annoyed pull of his shorts soon after, as Zimmermann did well to rob Rooney on halfway only for Shinnie to dispossess Buendia almost immediately.
It was the sign of a player pumped up for the occasion, again yelling as he didn’t get a pass from Lukas Rupp in the 40th minute, but soon after spraying a lovely ball out to the left to Xavi Quintilla, but not being able to reach the cross at the back post - showing some lovely feet to combine with Aarons and keep the attack alive, but with Derby defender George Evans beating Hernandez to the ball into the box.
It was all-action but the frustration was about to peak, screaming at Aarons for not giving him the ball next and then tracking back after the right-back lost possession in attack, sliding across the wet turf to block off Jason Knight’s run and the Rams midfielder happily going down under the challenge and giving the referee a decision to make.
A slightly harsh yellow card was brandished but had Buendia stayed on his feet, he could have avoided the situation totally.
In comparison, the second half was much calmer, perhaps due to that booking looming large. He then helped City win a penalty, with a nice back-heeled flick to Rupp to keep a swift passing move going, before Evans clearly handled a Hernandez shot.
Pukki slipped however and the Canaries missed the chance to turn their dominance into a lead.
Linking nicely with Rupp again allowed Stiepermann to shoot from the edge of the box in the 58th minute, but the German dragged his low shot beyond the far post.
Soon after his clipped cross just evaded Stiepermann’s head and a corner from the left dropped just over Gibson to allow Rooney to clear.
The worry of a second yellow seemed to almost be forgotten in the 69th minute, charging in and blocking Shinnie’s thumped clearance but fortunately not making contact to concede a foul.
That booking may have played a part in missing a tackle on Morgan Whittaker as he tried to help out defensively in the 74th minute, but thankfully Tim Krul came to the rescue with a sprawling save.
But it was straight up the other end and after the ball wouldn’t sit up for him to shoot, Buendia handed over to Skipp, who spread right to Aarons, whose cross was headed wide by Rupp.
Soon after he squared for Mario Vrancic and the substitute’s gorgeous cross was fired goalwards by Aarons, only for Derby keeper David Marshall to make a fine save.
Yet in the 84th minute Buendia was heading down the tunnel, shaking his head in anger after being replaced by Jordan Hugill - only to quickly think better of it and reemerge to sit with the City subs, still shaking his head.
VERDICT: Brilliant, infuriating, tenacious, passionate. Everything that Norwich fans have come to expect from a player capable of being the best player in the Championship this season.
Thankfully, his future will be settled, one way or another before the next game. If he is to stay, then he will have to calm down if he is to truly rediscover his natural rhythm. If he is to leave, someone will have to part with a significant amount of money.
RATING: 7 out of 10