Top 5 All Time Premier League Strike Partnerships
The Premier League has borne witness to some of the greatest strike pairings in the game, making this a very tough choice to narrow it down to just five. I’m sure many people will not completely agree with my list, whether it's the placement order or any notable absences, so be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comment section.
This list is based purely on strike partnerships, so will not include any legendary striker/midfield duos such as Ronaldo and Rooney, Gerrard and Torres, Lampard and Drogba or Beardsley and Shearer.
Wayne Rooney and Ruud Van Nistelrooy – Manchester United
Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie – Manchester United
Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko – Manchester City
Jurgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham – Tottenham Hotspur
Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright – Arsenal
Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore – Liverpool
Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand – Newcastle United
Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn – Sunderland
5. Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka - Chelsea
Ok I know I’ve just started off this list somewhat controversially here due to some of the notable absences within the Honourable Mentions list, but hear me out. I understand this is a controversial entry as during their run together, Drogba and Anelka often played great as individuals rather than as a partnership, but both men achieved a lot during their run together at Chelsea.
Drogba had been the main man up top for the Blues within his first 4 seasons at the club, playing alongside a few different strike partners. In 2008 January transfer window, Chelsea made the acquisition of Nicolas Anelka from Bolton Wanderers for a fee of £15 million, signed by manager Avram Grant. Both men would go on to represent Chelsea in that seasons Champions League Final.
Proceeding on from Grant, Blues coach Luiz Filipe Scolari claimed that the pairing could not work effectively as a duo as they were too similar, as well as injuries preventing them from playing much football together. The strikers thrived however under the next two Managers at Stanford Bridge, Guus Hiddink and Carlo Ancelotti.
In my opinion, the two superstars linked up fantastically in many of the games they played together, notably against Fulham in 2009.
Both men also achieved successful individual accolades for Chelsea, with Anelka finishing top scorer of the 2008-09 season and then Drogba topping the list for the 2009-10 campaign.
4. Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton – Blackburn Rovers
The original SAS partnership, Shearer and Sutton were prolific at Blackburn Rovers in the two seasons they played together.
Shearer was without doubt the man at Ewood Park, finishing top scorer in his first two seasons with the club, including a second-place finish in the Premier League for Blackburn. Going into the 1994-95 campaign, manager Kenny Dalglish conducted a fantastic piece of business, signing Chris Sutton from Norwich City for a fee of £5 million, where he would now join Shearer as a front two.
The two men were outstanding together, instantly making an impact and helping deliver a famous Premier League Title to Ewood Park, notching 49 goals between them.
In the 42 Premier League matches played that season for Blackburn, there were only 12 times that one of the two strikers didn’t get themselves onto the scoresheet.
The following season was not as successful and glamorous, with the departure of Dalglish as manager, as well as Sutton facing a succession of injuries, preventing him from having an effective season, Blackburn only managed a 7th place finish. Alan Shearer still continued to dazzle however, scoring 31 goals.
Alan Shearer would depart Blackburn Rover moving to Newcastle United for a then world record breaking fee of £15 million, ending the fantastic partnership of the original and legendary SAS.
3. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge
The second coming of SAS came 18 years on from Shearer and Sutton, this time at Anfield in the form of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. These two players were two outstanding individual talents, who linked up fabulously, constantly keeping the Kopites entertained, delivering epic performance throughout their season and a half together.
Their most notable season came on the 2013-14 campaign, where Liverpool agonisingly missed out on the title to Manchester City, taking the title race down to the last game of the season.
Suarez was banned for the first five Premier League games of that season, yet still managed to bag 31 goals in 33 games, finishing the Premier League’s top scorer and winning the PFA player of the year award, becoming the first non-European to achieve this accolade.
Sturridge was also extremely prolific that season netting 21 league goals. This was a season that put him on the map as one of Europe’s most prolific strikers, unfortunately following this season, Sturridge encountered frequent injury problems which slowed down his momentum.
That almost title winning campaign was the first season to see two players from the same team finish 1st and 2nd on the top scorers list, until Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane both finished joint top scorers last season, again representing Liverpool, joint alongside Arsenal’s Pierre Emerick Aubameyang.
2. Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke
Manchester United are a without doubt the greatest Premier League team of all time, with multiple world class sides under Sir Alex Fergusons tenure managing the club. Within these different Sir Alex teams, one thing they all had in common was top class strikers, including the likes of Cantona, Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Sheringham, Solskjaer, Tevez and Van Persie.
When you think of the greatest Manchester United strike partnership however, there is quite simply only two names that spring to mine, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke.
Prior to joining Manchester United, both men were already huge hits within the Premier League. Cole had had a just come off a remarkable season with Newcastle United, where he finished the league’s top scorer with an incredible 34 goals. Yorke had been a top player at Aston Villa for years, playing 9 seasons for the Villains, 6 of those seasons within the Premier League.
When speaking about link up play, there is no better duo on this list. Cole and Yorke played telepathic football at times, knowing exactly where the other would be and always picking each other out. They displayed outstanding quick passing, great runs and both knew exactly where the net was.
Both men were key factors in Manchester United’s epic treble winning side in the 1998-99 season, which will forever go down as one of the greatest teams and greatest achievements in English Football.
If you need an example of just how great Cole and Yorke were together, just watch the video below of Andy Coles goal against Barcelona at the Camp Nou, simple breath-taking football.
1. Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp
Topping my list is two all-time Premier League greats, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. Two world class players who linked up outstandingly, bagging the goals for the Gunners within Arsenals greatest ever era.
In my opinion, Thierry Henry is the greatest player to ever grace in the Premier League. He was a goalscoring machine, scoring 175 goals in 258 appearances and finished top goalscorer a record 4 times within the Premier League era. Goalscoring wasn’t Henry’s only trait either, he linked up superbly with his teammates, delivering plenty of assists. To this date, Henry still holds the record for most assists in a single season, set in the 2002/03 with 20.
Dennis Bergkamp is without doubt one of the most technically gifted players to every play in the Premier League, constantly demonstrating outstanding flair and ability. Thierry Henry has openly named Bergkamp as the best player he's ever played alongside, and he’s not the only Premier League legend to speak highly of the former Dutch international. Bergkamp’s previous Arsenal strike partner, Ian Wright, has often spoken of the joy of playing with the Dutchman, expressing how his movement and link up was phenomenal.
Henry and Bergkamp played 7 seasons together at Highbury, winning three FA Cups and clinching two Premier League titles, including the infamous Invincibles.
Since their retirements, Arsenal have showed their gratitude to both players by giving them the honour of having statues outside of the Emirates Stadium, immortalising them as Arsenal and Football legends.
Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp are deservedly my number 1 greatest all time Premiers League strike partnership.
© 2020 Edward Robinson