This season so far, has all been about strike partnerships. With most teams tempted to go with just a single striker, there are still the likes of Liverpool and the two Manchester Clubs who have gone in with two up front and are reaping the rewards as a result. Suarez and Sturridge have already notched up 14 goals between them and look like they enjoy each other’s company and are the leading strike partnership in the league at the moment.
Not far behind are Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo who have 12 between and are looking like the perfect little and large combination that was very famous back in the day. In third position are United’s deadly duo of Van Persie and Rooney, who are slowly starting to make their mark on the campaign and have 11 between them already.
So, this looks like the perfect time to look at the five best striking partnerships to have ever played in the Premier League. As a yard stick, the total number of goals has been taken into account, with both players having scored at least 10, which eliminates the risk of it being a one-man and it actually being a partnership.
Those who just don’t make the cut are Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, who scored 38 goals between them last year and also had 18 assists to their name. Another United duo, but this time, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, who shared a telepathic understanding in 1999/00 season when they scored 39 goals, only just miss out.
So, let us look at the five best strike partnerships in the Premier League.
5. Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand – 1996/97 (41 League goals for Newcastle United)
At number five on the list is a strike partnership that only lasted for a season, but what a season that was. Just before the campaign, Newcastle signed Shearer for a British transfer record at the time and were hoping to pair him up with the already prolific Les Ferdinand. The duo got together and just started scoring for fun.
The Magpies were served a treat as they bore witness to two of the most clinical front men in the game, plunder the opposition and the duo ended the campaign with 41 goals between. Shearer had 25 of them and went onto win the Golden Boot. They were hugely influential in securing second place in the League, The Magpies best ever finish in the Premier League till date.
4. Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore – 1995/96 (42 League goals for Liverpool)
Robbie Fowler had already established himself as one of the League’s most clinical poachers, when he finished with 25 goals in the 1994/95 season, second only to Shearer. Over the summer of 1995, Liverpool’s already prolific attack got even better as they signed Stan Collymore from Nottingham, where he just finished the season as the club’s leading scorer with 22 goals.
The 95/96 season is one that Liverpool fans are unlikely to forget as Collymore and Fowler were simply sublime together and went onto score a total of 42 goals. Fowler finished the season with 28 goals, but yet again ended up second to Shearer. But, the goals provided by the duo, helped Liverpool finish the season third, having scored 70 goals, second only to United’s 73. However, the partnership didn’t last long as Collymore was sold to Aston Villa in 1997, when a certain Michael Owen was coming through.
3. Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn – 1999/2000 (44 League goals for Sunderland)
The Black Cats had only gained promotion to the Premier League in the 1999/2000 season and many doubted if they could stay there. But, in Quinn and Phillips they had the perfect big and little man strike partnership who helped them finish the season in 7th place. Few strike partnerships have managed to take the League by storm, like these two did.
The duo ended the season with 44 League goals between them, with Kevin Phillips scoring an incredible 30 goals in his debut Premier League season that saw him win the European Golden Boot. Until date, he is the only Englishman to have won that award and his partnership with the powerful Niall Quinn kept most Premier League defenses on their toes.
2. Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton – 1994/95 (49 League goals for Blackburn Rovers)
One of the main reasons why Blackburn Rovers won their only Premier League till date in the 1994/95 was because they had arguably the two best strikers in the League, who combined with deadly effect and created an instant impact. Shear and Sutton, dubbed “SAS” later on, only came together as a result of Sutton’s arrival from Norwich City in the summer.
Whilst many would have taken time to strike a rapport with a fellow striker, these two took no such time and they combined for 49 goals in the League. Shearer scored 34 that season, and took home the Golden Shoe for the first time. The raw pace and power of the two strikers, made them virtually unplayable and unlike anything the Premier League defenses were used to, back then.
1. Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley – 1993/94 (55 League goals for Newcastle United)
If there was one strike partnership that was better than SAS, in terms of just the sheer amount of goals scored, it has to be Andy Cole and Peter Beardsley, who led the line for Newcastle in the 1993/94 season. The pair between them, finished the season with 55 League goals in total to help Newcastle to third place in the League. Andy Cole broke the 30-goal mark for the first time in the history of the Premier League and finished the campaign with 34, a record that still stands for the most goals scored in a single PL season.
However, it was not all about Andy Cole, as Beardsley also popped up with 21 goals and made sure that it is the only instance of two strikers scoring over 20 goals in the same season, a record that hasn’t been broken till date. The duo were the perfect combination of youth and experience and helped Newcastle score 82 goals, the most by any team that season.
With numbers like that, it is no wonder, they are the best goal scoring strike partnership in the history of the Premier League. And Suarez and co. will be hoping to become the first pair since them, to score 50 League goals in a single campaign.