Leading the line with an attacking trio has grown in popularity in modern times – and the Premier League is no exception.
The greatest example of a front three over the last decade is the frighteningly good trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez that tormented defences for Barcelona between 2014 and 2017.
Now, the English top-flight can’t quite match that sort of brilliance today (‘MSN’ smashed an incredible 122 goals between them in 2014/15 – and no Premier League trio has ever hit those kinds of numbers).
That’s not to say the league doesn’t boast some prolific combinations right now, though, as FourFourTwo recently proved when they ranked every team in the division according to their best possible front three.
As not every side employs a trio up front, these rankings are based on the leading candidates that could operate in that structure for their team.
We’ve taken a look at FourFourTwo’s conclusions below.
Every Premier League team’s best possible front three – as ranked by FourFourTwo
20. Norwich: Dowell, Pukki, Rashica
19. Brighton: Trossard, Maupay, Welbeck
18. Watford: Sarr, King, Dennis
17. Newcastle: Fraser, Wood, Saint-Maximin
16. Southampton: Adams, Broja, S. Armstrong
This might be the lower reaches of the countdown, but there’s still plenty of talent on show. The division’s lowest scorers, Norwich, occupy bottom spot, mirroring their standing in the Premier League table.
The Canaries have managed just 22 goals this season – and appear doomed to return to the Championship next term.
Watford, with only 30 goals, look set to join them.
Brighton, Newcastle and Southampton each have plenty of quality in their frontlines. However, they lack the collective threat of other sides further up the list.
15. Burnley: Cornet, Weghorst, McNeil
14. Wolves: Hwang, Jimenez, Neto
13. Brentford: Eriksen, Toney, Mbuemo
12. Everton: Gray, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison
11. Leicester City: Lookman, Vardy, Barnes
This section of the rankings has potential in abundance. That said, none of the five teams above have set the world on fire when it comes to goalscoring this season.
Burnley face a tough task if they are to avoid relegation. On paper, though, their best attacking trio of Maxwel Cornet, Wout Weghorst and Dwight McNeil all have the ability to succeed at the top table of English football, just maybe not at Turf Moor!
Everton’s disappointing season could have been very different had they consistently been able to call upon a front three of Demarai Gray, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to lead the line, while the successful return of Christian Eriksen to professional football with Brentford has been wonderful to see.
10. Crystal Palace: Olise, Zaha, Eze
9. Aston Villa: Buendia, Watkins, Coutinho
8. Leeds: Raphinha, Bamford, Harrison
7. West Ham: Bowen, Antonio, Benrahma
6. Arsenal: Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe
Alongside club legend Wilfried Zaha, Crystal Palace youngsters Michael Olise and Ebere Eze are selected for the Eagles, who are ranked in the middle of the countdown.
England international Ollie Watkins is flanked by plenty of South American flair as Argentina’s Emi Buendia and Brazil’s Philippe Coutinho make the cut for Aston Villa.
Arsenal have never played Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe as a trio up top, but per the rules stated by FourFourTwo, this doesn’t prevent them from being named as such here. Granted, there’s no natural focal point for the attack, although there is creativity in abundance.
5. Manchester United: Sancho, Cavani, Ronaldo
4. Chelsea: Lukaku, Havertz, Mount
3. Manchester City: Jesus, Foden, Sterling
2. Tottenham: Kulusevski, Kane, Son
1. Liverpool: Salah, Mane, Diaz
Edinson Cavani has barely played for Manchester United this season but, due to a lack of credible candidates, the Uruguayan gets the nod alongside Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Few would argue with the inclusion of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount in Chelsea’s ideal front three. The final member of the trio, though, is less clear cut.
Essentially coming down to a straight choice between Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku, neither have set the world on fire in front of goal this season, but the Belgian striker is backed to rediscover his form of seasons past.
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side is so fluid that a considerable number of players can occupy a front three role. FourFourTwo, however, have opted to restrict themselves to conventional forwards, leading to a final line-up of Gabriel Jesus, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are officially the most prolific duo in Premier League history – and the addition of Dejan Kulusevski from Juventus in January has made Tottenham even more dangerous from an attacking standpoint.
Unfortunately, much of the rest of the Spurs squad has struggled to match the form of the league’s second-best-ranked attack.
It’s Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool that take top spot. Diogo Jota or Roberto Firmino would waltz into most of the above trios, but not at Anfield.
January recruit Luis Diaz has been a big hit on Merseyside since signing from Portio and joins Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in Liverpool’s ideal front three.
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