There is nothing more terrifying for a back four than a deadly strike partnership. Instead of containing one striker they have now have to contain two that can play off of one another and seem to have a telepathic connection, and this can lead them to easily pull defenders out of position, create distractions and run the entire back four ragged for 90 minutes. You will often find that the best strike partnerships are made up of different types of strikers, for example you will often see one taller player who can hold up the play, act as a target for long ball and flick on headers to his smaller partner, whilst the other striker may be small, quick and make timely runs into the box. This is not always the case however, and as this list will demonstrate there have been all kinds of fantastic strike partnerships that are special in their own right.
It is quite rare to see a strike partnership used in the modern era, and this is because many teams have moved away from the classic 4-4-2 formation. Instead they have opted for formations that see a striker/attacking midfielder used “in the hole”, where they play behind the striker leading the line. Some teams do occasionally play with two strikers, and it can be a joy to watch when they form a lethal partnership. This is most evident through the play of Suarez and Sturridge last season for Liverpool, and the Premier League had not seen a partnership as effective as that for many years and it was a joy to watch regardless of who you support.
It is mainly in the Premier League that we have seen the 4-4-2 formation used and therefore most of the notable partnerships have come from this league. This means that it is worth taking a look back through history at some of the deadliest strike partnerships to grace the Premier League over the years.
15 15. Dean Saunders & Dalian Atkinson
14 14. Robbie Fowler & Stan Collymore
13 13. Teddy Sheringham & Jurgen Klinsmann
12 12. Michael Owen & Emile Heskey
11 11. Didier Drogba & Nicolas Anelka
10 10. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer & Ruud Van Nistelrooy
9 9. Eidur Gudjohnsen & Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
8 8. Wayne Rooney & Cristiano Ronaldo
7 7. Alan Shearer & Les Ferdinand
6 6. Luis Suarez & Daniel Sturridge
It had been a number of years since we had seen a prolific strike partnership with two players that played so well off of each other, mainly due to most teams moving away from the 4-4-2 formation. The partnership between these two was too good to play any other formation, as the speed and intelligence these two players possess gave defenders very little time to react when S.A.S had a full head of steam. Suarez was in the form of his life last season, with Sturridge also coming into his own and being able to keep up with Suarez. Suarez scored a remarkable 31 league goals in 33 games, with Sturridge chipping in 21 himself and a number of assists.
5 5. Peter Beardsley & Andy Cole
4 4. Niall Quinn & Kevin Phillips
3 3. Thierry Henry & Dennis Bergkamp
2 2. Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton
1 1. Andy Cole & Dwight Yorke
The most deadly striker partnership the Premier League has ever seen, Cole and Yorke came together and obliterated every back 4 in the country and even the best defensive lines around Europe (including a very memorable goal against Barcelona). Their telepathic connection and goalscoring ability was key in helping the Red Devils to their legendary treble-winning campaign in the 1998-99 season. The pair racked up 53 goals between them that season, and would follow that up with 37 league goals in the next campaign. There have been more talented strikers in the league, but no partnership has forged quite the telepathic connection that these two did and won as much in a single season, and this made them breathtaking to watch at times.
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