Once upon a time, English football was dominated by Premier League strike partnerships: Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton; Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole; Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. Now, after an era of odd numbers (the front three, the lone striker), many clubs are returning to two up top. They do say that everything comes back in style eventually…
Bournemouth – Callum Wilson & Joshua King – 20 goals + 9 assists
Wilson and King started the season at top speed, ably assisted by wingers Ryan Fraser and David Brooks. As Premier League strike partnerships go, they’re more Yorke and Cole than Henry and Bergkamp. Both are cut from the same cloth – quick, skilful, powerful finishers. By the end of October, they’d already scored 8 league goals between them and Wilson had his first England call-up. Sadly, it all went downhill after that. With his partner out injured, King couldn’t keep the goals flowing in, but Wilson is back now.
Wolves - Raúl Jiménez & Diogo Jota - 18 goals + 10 assists
The best Premier League strike partnerships are all about understanding. This one took a little time to get going, but Jiménez and Jota are definitely on the same wavelength now. They compliment each other brilliantly. Jiménez is the classic Number 9 with his height, power and goals, while Jota is the Number 10, buzzing around with his speed and skill. They’ve combined for Wolves’ last 3 league goals.
Burnley – Ashley Barnes & Chris Wood – 16 goals + 2 assists
Burnley’s 2019 bounceback can be put down to many things: the return of Tom Heaton, the benching of Joe Hart, the emergence of Dwight McNeil…and the unearthing of one of the top Premier League strike partnerships. Barnes and Wood don’t create a whole lot of chances for each other, but they offer double trouble for defences when the crosses come into the box. It’s not always pretty but it’s highly successful. Barnes and Wood have scored 11 goals together since the start of January.
Watford – Gerard Deulofeu & Troy Deeney – 15 goals + 10 assists
Scoring goals has been Watford’s only real issue in an otherwise excellent season. However, lately, Javi Gracia has found a front two that really works – Deulofeu and Deeney. Instead of little and large, this is more skill and strength. After thrashing Cardiff City together and beating Leicester City, they then lost badly at Liverpool. It’s still early days but there’s certainly potential for a top Premier League strike partnership here.
Newcastle United - Ayoze Pérez & Salomón Rondón – 14 goals + 7 assists
The best Premier League strike partnerships are all about effort too. Pérez and Rondón have worked so hard for Newcastle this season and so it’s nice to see things starting to click for them. There were promising signs in the 2-0 win over Huddersfield, and they were confirmed last weekend in the 3-2 comeback victory over Everton. Their link-up play for the first goal was particularly brilliant. Manager Rafa Benítez compared Pérez’s pass to Lionel Messi and Rondón’s finish to Alan Shearer. Messi and Shearer – there can’t be many fantasy Premier League strike partnerships better than that!