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The Best EPL Strike Partnerships


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.shearer

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

collyA 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 Bergkamp1565984904_3cbca6ff0a_m

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!

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  1. gabriel

    May 14, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Adriano e Ibrahimovic as melhores dupla de ataque do mundo incluido Ronaldo Fenomeno e imperador adriano na copa de 2006

  2. John Tey

    July 15, 2009 at 11:04 am

    How about Anelka & Bergkamp? ^_^

  3. brn442

    July 7, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Well said Joaq and thats coming from a liverpool supporter. That partnership is a makesift one made out of desperation as Raffa can’t seem able to sign a decent strike partner for the Spaniard. The best was probably Rush/Dalglish – the one that brought the most success of any british club is not even mentioned in the article, interesting. Maybe I’m showing my age again.
    Cole/Yorke was the best in the last ten years – the way they systematicaly disected that Barcelona defence in 99 was sublime. The fact that Yorke wasn’t a natural centre- foward made it all the more impressive.

  4. wazza

    July 7, 2009 at 12:12 am

    what about Hasselbaink & Gudjohnson? Devastating in the pre-roman days.

  5. JLay

    July 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm

    Kabeer, you are obviously a Liverpool fan, or at least a United hater. Or someone that doesn’t let silly things like facts interfere with their opinions.

    The point is, neither pair belong in a discussion about the best strike partnerships in history- Gerrard and Ronaldo aren’t strikers.

    If you really meant to suggest that Gerrard/Torres were better than Ronaldo/Rooney, let’s take a quick tally of the two seasons they all shared:

    Ronaldo + Rooney = 106 combined goals, 2 League Championships, 1 Champions League Trophy, 1 FIFA Club World Cup, 1 Carling Cup, 2 Community Shields.

    Gerrard + Torres = 95 combined goals, and uhhh…. NOTHING.

  6. Kabeer

    July 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm

    Joaq, You are no doubt a man u fan. Or at least Liverpool hater.

  7. JLay

    July 6, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Well said, Joaq.

  8. Joaq

    July 6, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I don’t understand the whole Gerrard and Torres infatuation. Yes, they are good, however, if you are going to accompany a striker with a non-striker and represent a good partnership, you cannot help but mention Ronaldo and Rooney. Yes, Ronaldo may be bit less about “the team” than Roon, however, their abilities to win and work together cannot go unnoticed. They have won the premiership 3 years in a row along with countless silverware. They are arguably the best in the world at their positions. Gerrard and Torres are amongst the best in the world at their crafts, however, what have they got to show for it? Their playing styles may work well with Torres’ ability to chase down the long ball and Gerrard’s vision and ability to play the through ball, but if those two were SO great (saying they deserve a spot on the list of the greatest partnerships in prem. history) together wouldn’t they have some form of a trophy to prove it? They have not been together long enough to say they deserve a spot on the list.

  9. Spenser

    July 6, 2009 at 11:59 am

    what about growing, potential partnerships

    due to injury we haven’t seen the full potential of it

    but Gerrard-Torres could definitely be up there if they last a full season together and stop getting injured.

  10. Tyson

    July 6, 2009 at 10:14 am

    Yorke-Cole and Bergkamp-Henry spring to mind instantly.

    Just staggering. I think both partnerships were a little strange but its funny how that works.

  11. Mike K

    July 6, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Definately agree with Shearer and Sutton. I was too young to remember any of the games from the early 90’s, but from all the footage I’d seen of Blackburns season they were devastating in front of goal.

    I think Rooney and van Nistelrooy were a pretty decent pairing as well (unfortunately for my team).

    Being an Arsenal fan, Henry and Bergkamp is my number one. As you said, I’ve never seen such a perfect combination of strikers. Bergkamp had a vision, anticipation and passing ability that was unmatched, not to mention he was one of the best placement shooters of his time. When Henry came in, Bergkamps through balls had someone who could intercept it, run with it, pass it off, get past defenders, and finish sublimely into the bottom corner or rifle in a shot from 20 yards. What more could you ask for?

  12. Andrew

    July 6, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Not a “traditional” strike partnership, but surely Torres and Gerrard deserve a place on this list.

  13. Joaq

    July 6, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Always favored Roon & Ruud. Great pair they were. The finesse of Ruud with the power and brute force of Wayne meshed very well. It was pretty short lived, sadly. I would love to have seen that partnership have some real longevity.

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