Emi Buendia – Getting Away With it
When Jonathan Wilson, the author of “Inverting The Pyramid,” wrote a book about the history of Argentinian football, he titled it “Angels With Dirty Faces” to encapsulate the conflict between the beauty of Argentinian Football and its darker side.
You only have to think of Diego Armando Maradona to witness the personification of the Argentinian relationship with football in the greatest player ever and the demons he unleashed from his darker side, both on and off the pitch.
While all the attention at Aston Villa is focused on Emiliano Martinez and his time-wasting, his fellow Argentinian, Emiliano Buendia, is quietly doing the dirty work and getting away with it.
Recent end-of-season figures from The Analyst, known as The Premier League’s Unwanted Season Awards, highlighted Buendia’s work in the shadows.
The Discreet Foul Master
Despite being renowned for his skill and creativity, Emiliano Buendia managed to commit 43 fouls without receiving a booking as he maneuvered through the Aston Villa midfield and attack.
With his fiery nature, diminutive stature, and smiling face, Buendia surpassed the nearest player, Brighton’s Kaoru Mitoma, by committing 14 more fouls over the course of the season.
Considering Aston Villa players receive a booking every 5.2 fouls on average, making them the fourth worst team in this regard in the league, it is a remarkable feat to evade a card despite committing 42 fouls.
When delving deeper into this, it becomes evident that Buendia is a major disruptor (aka ‘Ratter’) in the midfield.
In his 38 appearances this season, he made 51 tackles with a 45% success rate, blocked 19 shots, made 20 interceptions, 13 clearances, 11 headed clearances, recovered the ball 138 times, succeeded in 28 50/50 situations, and won 23 aerial battles, all without receiving a booking.
Consider some of the refereeing performances at Villa Park this season, where Aston Villa players have been booked for minimal contact or even for cleanly winning the ball.
Then imagine the smiling face of Buendia as he commits yet another foul, innocently looking towards the referee with his hands outstretched like a messiah.
Maybe the next time a Villa player has to take one for the team, it should be the angelic Buendia, rather than Mings, McGinn or Ramsey, he obviously knows how to get away with it.