Norwich City are having a storming season at present, as they proudly sit atop the Championship table after 20 games.
The Canaries are one point clear of second place Leeds United and four ahead of West Bromwich Albion in third
There has been a number of players who have been in scintillating form for Daniel Farke’s side, affording his team the luxury of being unlikely promotion contenders.
The likes of Timm Klose, Teemu Pukki, Jordan Rhodes, Marco Stiepermann and Moritz Leitner to name a few have been consistently impressive and deserve enormous credit.
Farke, too also deserve plaudits for what he has been able to achieve with his players after an indifferent start to the season.
But one player who has been quietly going about his business to devastating effect is 21-year-old Emiliano Buendia.
Having signed in the summer on a four-year deal, the Argentine playmaker took a little time to settle in but having played in 17 of the club’s 20 league games; he is now showing his class.
Buendia has managed 14 starts and three substitute appearances, totalling 1175 minutes played ahead of this weekend’s round of games.
During his time on the pitch, the young Argentine has been impressive and a vital part of the Canaries’ upturn in form as they made their way to the top of the league, where they currently reign.
Buendia is an attacking dynamo and is crucial to how Norwich play and get around the pitch.
The 21-year-old boasts an impressive pass susses rate of 80 per cent from the right of an attacking three behind main man Pukki.
He averages 36 passes per game and also 1.8 key passes.
In total, this season he has attempted 646 passes, completing 506 accurate short passes to get the Canaries up the pitch in quick fashion.
When there is a pass on from a distance, the youngster can pick that out, too completing nine accurate long balls this season.
Not only effective at distributing regular passes during a game, but key passes are also an essential aspect of his game and he is a deadeye when it comes to those.
Buendia has the second most of any Canaries player with 31 in 20 matches, with six of them being long, driven passes to create an attack and 25 others being short, incisive efforts that have breached an opponent’s backline.
Those passing stats have led him to register three assists so far this term, the second most for any Norwich player.
Buendia has three goals to his name this term, making him the club’s third highest goalscorer – and all his goals have come inside the penalty area – the second highest amount of any Norwich player to do so this term.
For a player who plays wide-right of an attacking midfield three, that is pretty decent considering you’d expect more long-range efforts from outside the box.
That shows his poaching instincts and ability to get in and around the right areas in the box to score important goals for his side.
That isn’t a bad return for a player who averages 1.5 shots per game and has had 26 shots in total all season – scoring with every eight or so shots he has.
From the 26 efforts Buendia has had, 15 have come from outside the area, and 11 from inside the penalty box, from where he has scored thrice.
Interestingly, he has had zero shots from inside the six-yard box, which you would imagine will be something the attacker wishes to improve on.
Buendia has had the third most dribbles attempted for Norwich this term and is second in the side for the most completed.
Again, consistently productive on the ball progressing his way up the pitch to get his side in advanced areas to create chances and that is evident in the stats for the team.
The 21-year-old has attempted 38 dribbles in 20 matches, with 25 being successful.
It is no surprise that Norwich rely on Buendia to get them up into advanced areas where they can hurt their opponents more.
For a debut season to be ranked highly in the majority of stats for Norwich City is impressive, even more so when you consider it is a new country and a new league to fit into and to have aided his side to the top of the division, Buendia deserves enormous credit.
Fast becoming a fans’ favourite for his impressive, fluid performances on the pitch, he has been an influential member of the team throughout the season and surely can only improve.
The season is close to the halfway mark, and if the 21-year-old can emulate his performances for the rest of the campaign or improve, then he could well be the catalyst to the Canaries signing their way to the Premier League come May.
His passing ability in the middle and to get into advances positions is impressive, and his ability to drive the team forward with the ball should be lauded, too.
A vital cog in the Farke machine at Carrow Road, without him, would Norwich have the right balance and be where they are right now? That to me would be very doubtful.