Michael Owen’s shock transfer to Manchester United gives him the chance to be re-united with Wayne Rooney, a strike partnership that proved so fruitful with the England national side.
A successful pairing up front is often at the heart of a side’s success and if they develop a mutual understanding can prove greater than the sum of their parts.
With that in mind I thought I would delve into the history books and pick out a number of memorable Premier League strike partnerships that can compare with Owen and Rooney. I am sure many of you will disagree with my picks or have some of you own, so feel free to write your comments below.
Shearer and Sutton.
Way back in 1994 Blackburn broke the British transfer record to sign Chris Sutton from Norwich for £5million. His capture meant they could boast two of the most feared strikers in the English game, with a certain Alan Shearer already banging them in at Ewood Park. Powerful, direct and clinical in front of goal, the pair bagged 49 goals between them as Blackburn stormed to their first league title since 1914.
Cole and Beardsley
Back in 1993 Newcastle, resurgent under Kevin Keegan, took the Premier League by storm. Central to that were the goalscoring feats of young striking sensation Andy Cole and Geordie legend Peter Beardsley, who had returned to the club from Everton that summer. Together they hit 59 goals between them as the Magpies secured an impressive third place finish, playing some exciting football on the way - a far cry from what is currently going on at St James’ Park
Collymore and Fowler
A partnership that perhaps never realised its potential, Collymore had hit 22 goals with Nottingham Forest in the 1994-95 season which tempted Liverpool to pay £8.5 million to bring him to Anfield in the summer of ‘95. Already in the Liverpool ranks was Robbie Fowler, often the labelled ‘the best finisher of his generation’. They hit 42 goals between them in their opening season but after a loss of form Collymore was eventually sold to Aston Villa for £7 million in 1997.
Cole and Yorke
An unlikely partnership perhaps but the two goal poachers gelled magnificently at Old Trafford for three years between 1998 and 2000. Renowned for almost having a ‘sixth sense’ they would often combine quickly and unlock defences by instinctively knowing each others positions. They hit 35 goals between them in 1998-99 as Alex Ferguson’s men marched towards the treble.
Henry and Bergkamp
Arguably the most complete strike partnership Thierry Henry’s speed, finishing and moments of magic combined with Bergkamp’s sublime skill and inventiveness to devastating affect for the Gunners. Their 31 goals helped Arsenal towards the title in 2001-02, a smaller total than most partnerships but such was their skill they set up as many goals as they scored. Three years later things would get even better for the two as they formed the axis of the ‘invincibles’ side that went the whole league season unbeaten.
So there is my pick, but are they deserving of my top five list? Are we discounting the influence of great midfielders? For example would Cole and Yorke have scored so many without the service of Beckham and Giggs?
Feel free to add your suggestions, I know I have missed some notable ones off.
A few others to get you started include:
Let me know your thoughts!
First published at EPL Talk.