The top five moments of Buendia brilliance at City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
With Norwich City confirming a club-record sale of Emi Buendia is imminent, David Freezer looks back on the creative star's top five Canaries moments.
It’s always difficult for supporters to handle the exit of a star player, as raw disappointment overrides rational thought during a begrudging farewell.
Football moves on quickly though and attentions will swiftly turn to the search for new heroes, as Stuart Webber and Daniel Farke reinvest and attempt to build a squad capable of Premier League survival.
As the sadness fades however, there is a wealth of wonderful moments for Canaries fans to reflect on, during three superb seasons and 121 matches of Emi Buendia brilliance.
It wasn’t always plain sailing. Four red cards, for a mixture of petulance and naivety, held up the Argentine’s development and taught him to temper his tenacious urges.
Yet in terms of pure technical skill and natural ability he is very much in the conversation as one of the best players to ever represent Norwich City.
That he managed that after being plucked from a loan in the Spanish second tier, for just £1.5million initially before Getafe’s earning later rose to £5m in conjunction with his success, represents another superb scouting success for the Canaries’ recruitment model.
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- 3 Norwich City fans get kit help as Pukkimania sparks dash for Euros shirt
- 4 Norwich City transfer rumours: Leeds also interested in Gunn
- 5 'Amazing' ambition was key to Buendia's decision to choose Villa
- 6 WINDOW WATCH: The latest City transfer news and views
- 7 Denmark star 'stabilised' after collapsing during Euros game
- 8 Left-back seals permanent Canaries exit
- 9 'Pukki will be treated like Messi or Ronaldo''
- 10 'Thank you Norwich' - Buendia pens emotional farewell to Canaries
With 41 assists and 24 goals to choose from, narrowing down Buendia’s best moments to just five is incredibly difficult but here are my pick from a sea of riches.
1 - Bamboozling Brentford
Buendia was eased into English football by Farke to start with during 2018-19 but five assists in two League Cup wins and two league assists had City fans excited about the obvious talent of the former Argentina Under-20 international.
He really came to the fore with the only goal during a 1-0 home win over Brentford in October 2018 though, with an audacious finish at Carrow Road.
Drifting in from the right wing in trademark style, Buendia darted through the middle and ahead of striker Teemu Pukki as Timm Klose stepped out of defence and into space in midfield.
The Swiss centre-back looped a lovely ball to the edge of the penalty area and the summer signing did the rest, flicking the dropping ball past the Bees keeper just before it hit the turf before sliding on his knees in front of the River End and punching the air in delight.
From the run to the celebration, the whole move had seemed like one fluid movement, like poetry in motion.
2 - Outrageous back-heel
Carrow Road was ready to party as Hull arrived in March 2019, with a new contract for Farke announced ahead of kick-off as the Canaries searched for a fifth consecutive win and to strengthen their position at the top of the table.
The Tigers were proving stubborn though and had pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 just before half-time. It was time for some Emi magic.
Kenny McLean floated a long ball towards the left wing Just before the hour mark, where the roving Buendia shaped his body unusually to hook a mid-air back-heel into Pukki’s path with his left foot.
The roars of approval were swiftly extinguished by Pukki standing on the ball but as disappointment rose, Buendia charged forward in support and the Finn executed a back-heel of his own, to allow his talented team-mate to squeeze in the goal his wonderful improvisation had deserved.
It was a moment that few players in a Canaries shirt have been capable of.
3 - Prime pickpocketing
Much of 2019-20 needs glossing over for Buendia as much as it does for City, as his impressive creative numbers mostly went to waste during a relegation slump, with just one goal to go with his seven assists.
However, as we all know, there was one very special night during that disappointment as champions Manchester City were beaten 3-2 by Farke’s injury-hit but fired-up squad.
The man from Mar del Plata had delivered the corner from which McLean had headed the scoring with a bullet header and Todd Cantwell had made it 2-0, only for Sergio Aguero to pull a goal back during first half injury-time.
However, just five minutes into the second half the visiting defence switched off in possession and Buendia’s tenacity saw him rob fellow Argentinian Nicolas Otamendi and square for Pukki to poke home for 3-1 and send Carrow Road wild – for the crucial goal in that unforgettable 3-2 triumph.
4 - A crucial goal
With 15 goals and 16 assists during this season’s title triumph, it would have been a travesty had Buendia not been named Championship Player of the Season.
Wonderful goals such as remarkable control and finish at Bristol City or his stunning volley against Barnsley, had lit up a superb but strange season behind closed doors.
Arguably the most important came in March though as he proved the difference against promotion rivals Brentford.
Using his strength and skill to ride two challenges as he cut in from the right, that emerging left-footed threat was on show again as the creative maestro curled a low shot into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box.
It was the game’s only goal and continued a winning streak which would eventually end at nine games, with the Premier League within touching distance.
5 - Total domination
It may not have been the night that the title was wrapped up mathematically but the 7-0 demolition of Huddersfield in April was the night that the eventual champions left the rest of the division in no doubt about who was top dog.
City were 5-0 up at half-time at the break. Buendia had three assists and a goal, looking very much like a player too good for a Championship struggler, at the peak of his powers.
Arguably his best assist of the season allowed Pukki to make it 2-0, winning back possession before curling a long ball down the right which curled into the striker’s path perfectly.
He made it 3-0 in the 23rd minute as he turned and pinged a right-footed shot from 25 yards which curled away from the under-siege keeper and bounced satisfyingly in off the left post.
The icing was added to the cake with wonderful link-ups with Cantwell and Kieran Dowell, as the Canaries finally handed out the beating they had been threatening for so long – with Buendia the man pulling the strings on an epic evening.