The stats behind Samuel Umtiti's first season at the Nou Camp and his centrality to Luis Enrique's Barcelona

As unlikely as it may seem, the defender has emerged as one of the most important players in the side since moving to the Nou Camp last summer

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As a club, Barcelona have become synonymous with their famed front three. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar have established themselves as the leading stars under Luis Enrique, scoring an impressive 82 goals between them this season.

But when it comes to the team’s success in terms of results, one player’s name stands out from the rest.

As unlikely as it may seem, Samuel Umtiti has emerged as one of the most important players in the side since moving to the Nou Camp last summer.

Indeed, Barcelona have won all 16 La Liga games with the former Lyon defender in their side but, in his absence, have managed just two wins out of 11. A further three of those games culminated in defeat - as was the case with Sunday’s shock 2-1 loss at Deportivo.

Over the course of the last three seasons, encompassing two years with Lyon, Umtiti's teams have won 67.9 per cent of their games when he has been playing and just 18.1 per cent without him.

Although Neymar was missing for Sunday’s defeat by struggling Deportivo La Coruna, it was Umtiti’s absence which hit hard, with both of Deportivo’s goals coming from the set piece.

Javier Mascherano botched an attempted clearance that led to Joselu’s opener, while Umitit’s replacement Jordi Alba was left rooted to the spot as Alex Bergantinos out-jumped him to head the winning goal.

Umtiti has taken to his role at the back like a fish to water, playing with supreme confidence for a 23-year-old, and relishing the attacking responsibilities as much as the defensive ones.

Strong in the air, he is also extremely comfortable on the ball and can take it past opponents to find the right angle for a pass to help build attacks from the back.

"To be honest I am surprised by Umtiti's quick adaption," Enrique said earlier in the season. "It's a position where the club has always had handicaps."

Although both of them were excellent against Paris Saint-Germain, Mascherano is the victim of Umtiti's success, with a clamour growing for the Frenchman to be Gerard Pique's partner while the Argentine gets benched.

It hasn't been a flawless season for Umtiti, with poor performances against PSG in the 4-0 defeat in Paris and the 2-1 first leg defeat by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey last 16.

But these missteps do little to mask the quality and calmness he has brought to the Barcelona backline this season. 

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