Five of the best Premier League strike partnerships
Posted by Featured Articles | Published on March 2, 2016
Thierry Henry, Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero – the list of great individual forwards goes on, but what was the greatest strike partnership to ever grace the Premier League? Counting down, here are the five most successful front pairings to play in the top flight of English football!
5. Luis Suarez & Daniel Sturridge
Just beating Collymore and Fowler to the number five spot is the ‘S.A.S’.
In the modern era of football a forward pairing is somewhat a thing of the past, however, having scored 52 league goals between them in the 13/14 season, Sturridge and Suarez managed to prove just how empowering a front two can be.
Suarez found the net 31 times in 33 games, averaging just under a goal a game; Sturridge contributed to their combined total with 21 goals as well as a handful of assists which mostly fell to the feet of his Uruguayan companion. That season the two went on to take both the league top goalscorer and runner-up spots.
In just one season the two had formed an unbreakable bond and had shown their class as a partnership. Had Suarez stuck around at Anfield the two could have gone on to further prevail in the Premier League. Their little time together and prolific success is what fires them into the top five, for me.
4. Kevin Phillips & Niall Quinn
The famous ‘Little and Large’. Those who demanded that two opposition defenders should mark tightly to avoid defensive humiliation simply through their presence on the field.
Sunderland had won the First Division title in 1999 and they traveled to Chelsea on the opening day of the following season where they were flogged by four goals to nil – their stay in the Premier League looked as if it was over before it had even begun! Step forward Phillips and Quinn.
Defying all the odds on a season that started so poorly, Sunderland narrowly missed out on UEFA Cup football finishing seventh in the league that term. It was the quality of Quinn and Phillips that fired them so high that year.
The former England international, Phillips, scored 30 goals that season; Phillips went on to win the European Golden Boot that term as a result of his eye for goal, he is still the only Englishman to do so! As well as the fine form of Phillips, the Irishman Quinn contributed with fourteen goals too.
Standing at 6’4″, Quinn’s presence drew in two markers, subsequently leaving Phillips space to roam. It is this that makes them such a good partnership, their need for one another. Without Quinn, Philips wouldn’t have reached such heights and vice versa.
3. Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton
We’ve already been over one S.A.S and now it is time for a second, Shearer and Sutton. The two formed a partnership that led Kenny Dalglish’s Blackburn to success in their Premier League, title-winning campaign back in the mid-1990s.
Sutton made a move to Ewood Park in the summer of 1994 from Norwich City for a fee of £5million – at the time, this made him the most expensive player in English football, the pressure really was on. But this didn’t deter his ability, he went on to score 15 goals to accompany that of Shearer’s 34; all-in-all, the all-English combination netted 49 times combined leading Rovers to Premier League success.
It was their power, strength and clinical nature that made them one of most feared pairings in the league.
The following season, however, Sutton fell subject to injury and failed to score; as for the second half of the coalition, teammate Shearer was sold to his hometown club Newcastle. It was a partnership that had so much promise but was crushed through its unfortunate parting. It is their short duration together that sees them slip down the rankings.
2. Thierry Henry & Dennis Bergkamp
Two of most gifted individual forwards ever to play in the Premier League, play them alongside each other and you have, potentially, one of the best pairings ever!
It’s one anybody knows of. Football fan or not, you know who Henry and Bergkamp are. The famous pairing that spearheaded Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ where they went through the entire 2003-04 campaign without losing a game.
A duo that played alongside one another for six years at Arsenal, scoring 200 goals between them. Whilst Henry bagged the majority of these, he would not have reached those heights had he not had his Dutch associate, Bergkamp.
To say that Henry would not have been as prolific without Dennis is a statement that Henry himself agrees on, having said the following:
“Whenever somebody was moving, Dennis would give them the ball – he was the master at that. I will always maintain it – Dennis is and always will be the best played I’ve ever played with.”
The ‘Kings of Highbury’ are undoubtedly one of the best pairings, ever.
1. Andy Cole & Dwight Yorke
Three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, one Champions League and a treble-winning campaign in the 1998-99 season. That is why Cole and York take the number one spot.
With Cantona’s retirement and Teddy Sheringham’s efforts not good enough, Sir Alex needed a goalscorer. There were lots of names linked with a move to Old Trafford, the likes of Gabriel Batistuta and Patrick Kluivert to name a couple. However, there was one man that caught Sir Alex’s eye and in turn, would cost him £12million – Dwight Yorke.
Having scored 73 in 232 appearances for Villa, Fergie was hopeful that his impressive eye for goal would be carried with him to Manchester in the hope of securing the Premier League title. Scoring twice on his home debut against Charlton, the new boy hit the ground running and eventually guided the Red Devils to the treble!
But Yorke had a helping hand from one Andy Cole, it was a partnership that was not discovered until a trip to Southampton in early October of Yorke’s debut season; it was a partnership that flourished from that moment onwards, highlighted by their synchronous understanding through Cole’s famous Champions League goal at the Nou Camp.
They were a major part of United’s treble success scoring 53 goals in all competitions that term – Yorke with 29 of those. It was their achievements and well-decorated CVs that made them the best partnership to ever play in the Premier League.
With that said, will we ever see another Premier League partnership that can reach the previous heights of Cole and Yorke? Well, Rashford and Martial seem to be something special, Cole and Yorke may not yet be the only special attack to play at Old Trafford…