Football

Premier League: Best strike partnerships

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Rooney and Van Persie should be a big hit this season. (©GettyImages)
Rooney and Van Persie should be a big hit this season. (©GettyImages).

After Manchester United confirmed they have reached agreement with Arsenal for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson may have just formulated the greatest strike partnership the Premier League has ever seen.

If the return of last season's top two scorers is anything to go by - Van Persie claimed the Golden Boot with 30 goals in 2011/12, while Wayne Rooney netted a career best 27 league strikes - then the Red Devils will pose an attacking threat unrivalled by any other club in the country.

Manchester City's short dynasty of success could already be drawing to a close, if the two players combine and work as spectacularly well as is anticipated.

Over the years, there have been some truly brilliant combinations, with United alone boasting some of the most feared forward partnerships in the English top-flight.

£24million is a lot of money to pay for a player who is approaching his 30th birthday, and that's before you even consider the Dutchman's horrific injury record. But, the amalgamation of two players at the peak of their powers really does whet the appetite for the forthcoming campaign.

In tribute to the new-look Rooney and Van Persie coalition, GiveMeFootball attempts to identify the Premier League's best from the rest...


Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton | Blackburn Rovers [1994-95]

In 1993/94, Blackburn finished as Premier League runners-up behind Manchester United with an impressive tally of 84 points, but having scored just 63 goals in what was then a 42 game season.

Alan Shearer netted nearly half of those goals (31), and needed someone to share the burden, prompting the £5million arrival of Chris Sutton who had amassed 25 goals for Norwich City that year.

The pair linked up superbly scoring 49 times as Blackburn beat United to the title by a solitary point, and it remains the Ewood Park club's only top-flight title in its current format.


Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole | Manchester United [1998-99]

Widely regarded as one of the most prolific strike partnerships in the Premier League, the pairing of Newcastle United's Andy Cole and Aston Villa's Dwight Yorke looked to be a match made in heaven for Sir Alex Ferguson.

The duo played an important role in Manchester United's famous treble winning campaign, contributing 53 goals between them. But, after the emergence of Ruud van Nistelrooy, their playing time became limited.

Yorke and Cole were reunited during a brief spell at Blackburn, but failed to rediscover their best form.


Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn | Sunderland [1999-2000]

In many ways, this Sunderland duo were one of the most unlikely prolific partnerships. Just a few years prior to the Black Cats' maiden Premier League campaign, Kevin Phillips was playing in a struggling Watford side in the old Division Two, while Niall Quinn was entering the twilight of his career at the age of 33.

The classic 'big man - little man' combination thrived off each other, with Phillips claiming the European Golden Boot after a return of 30 league goals - his greatest ever season as a professional. Quinn also notched 14 times, which was his second highest top-flight tally during a 19-year career.


Michael Owen and Emile Heskey | Liverpool [2000-2003]

After Gerard Houllier paid Leicester City £11million to bring Emile Heskey to Anfield, big things were expected of the 'little and large' partnership with Kop idol Michael Owen.

In the three seasons they spent together, Liverpool qualified for Europe every year, winning the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, managing to score 105 goals together.

The relationship was also utilised at international level, with Heskey and Owen seen as England's first-choice striker pairing for a number of years.


Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink | Chelsea [2001-02]

When Chelsea first signed Fernando Torres from Liverpool, Blues fans will have hoped that the £50million man would strike up a deadly relationship with Didier Drogba to at least rival that of Eidur Gudjohnsen and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

That partnership rose to prominence under Claudio Ranieri, with the Icelandic and the Dutchman scoring 52 goals in all competitions in 2001-02. Unfortunately, their prolificacy faded thereafter, with both players leaving Stamford Bridge - Hasselbaink headed for Middlesbrough in 2004 while Gudjohnsen moved to Barcelona two years later.


Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp | Arsenal [2000-2006]

Two of Arsenal's most celebrated strikers played alongside each other for six seasons under Arsene Wenger, notching more than 200 Premier League goals between them.

What Dennis Bergkamp started, Thierry Henry finished - it was that simple for the Gunners, who celebrated a league and cup double with the forwards on board, as well as playing their part in the 'Invincibles' campaign of 2003/04.

Bergkamp retired in 2006, bringing to an end their prolific partnership, with Henry swapping north London for Spain with a big-money move to Barcelona a year later.

Topics:
Robin Van Persie
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
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