Premier League

The Premier League's most prolific strike partnerships in a season

Grey Whitebloom
Apr 4, 2021, 9:30 PM GMT+1
Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have starred in Tottenham Hotspur's attack with a ruthless and record-breaking partnership
Harry Kane and Heung-min Son have starred in Tottenham Hotspur's attack with a ruthless and record-breaking partnership / ANDY RAIN/Getty Images
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The last few decades have signalled the end of many a sacred tradition for the beautiful game.

However, while pies and pints may have long since bitten the dust, the classic strike partnership has made a comeback in recent years. Five of the eight instances when two players combined for a double figure Premier League tally occurred in the 20th century - four of which were between 1994 and 1996 - at the height of the 4-4-2 formation.

When the popularity of this system dwindled in the mid-2000s in favour of one striker, so did the number of prolific duos. Yet the last trio of Premier League campaigns have produced a new entrant each on this select list, reflecting the favoured front three of the day as each pair contains a striker and winger rather than the archetypal two through the middle.

8. Raul Jimenez & Adama Traore (10) - 2019/20

Wolverhampton Wanderers appeared to have stumbled across a cheat code in the 2019/20 season, with all seven of Adama Traore's assists to frontman Raul Jimenez following the same pattern.

Traore would charge towards the byline, leaving a pile of twisted defenders in his wake, before cutting the back to Jimenez, prowling in the box.

7. Nicolas Anelka & Dennis Bergkamp (10) -1998/99

Dennis Bergkamp (left) and Nicola Anelka (centre) only had two complete seasons together at Arsenal
Dennis Bergkamp (left) and Nicola Anelka (centre) only had two complete seasons together at Arsenal / Clive Mason/Getty Images

Ian Wright? No. Thierry Henry? No.

Surprisingly, Nicolas Anelka was the man Dennis Bergkamp singled out as the other half of his favourite double-act at Arsenal, revealing: "As a strike partner, Nicolas was probably the best I've had at Highbury in terms of understanding."

As those first two names don't appear in this list, the numbers - for the 1998/99 season at least - back up Bergkamp's gut feeling.

6. Stan Collymore & Robbie Fowler (10) - 1995/96

Stan Collymore (right) played the role of provider much more often than Robbie Fowler
Stan Collymore (right) played the role of provider much more often than Robbie Fowler / Getty Images/Getty Images

The roles of Liverpool's feared front duo in the mid-1990s were clearly defined.

Nine of the ten goals which the pair combined for in 1995/96 were assisted by Stan Collymore and finished by Robbie Fowler, including all three for the latter's hat-trick against Arsenal. The man known simply as 'God' was never going play second fiddle.

5. Mike Newell & Alan Shearer (11) - 1995/96

Mike Newell wasn't Alan Shearer's most prolific partner at Blackburn but the two enjoyed an excellent relationship both on and off the pitch
Mike Newell wasn't Alan Shearer's most prolific partner at Blackburn but the two enjoyed an excellent relationship both on and off the pitch / Gary M. Prior/Getty Images

From a pre-season tour of Scotland after Alan Shearer's arrival at Blackburn Rovers in 1992, he and Mike Newell were fast friends. Shearer would later describe Newell as 'an ideal striking partner, so unselfish and willing to cover every blade of grass'.

Yet despite their immediate connection off the pitch, the pair's best campaign for combining came in their last season together at Blackburn - even though a certain other forward later in the list was knocking about.

4. Les Ferdinand & Kevin Gallen (11) - 1994/95

Les Ferdinand was half of the prolific duo for Queen's Park Rangers in the mid-1990s
Les Ferdinand was half of the prolific duo for Queen's Park Rangers in the mid-1990s / Phil Cole/Getty Images

Kevin Gallen's meteoric rise through the ranks of Queen's Park Rangers - after breaking Jimmy Greaves' long-standing youth team scoring records - caught fire on the senior stage as he dovetailed brilliantly with Les Ferdinand in 1994/95.

However, that duo only lasted a single season before 'Sir Les' joined Newcastle. QPR were relegated the following campaign but Gallen would bounce back to enjoy an impressive career with the Rs.

3. Ryan Fraser & Callum Wilson (12) - 2018/19

Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson's telepathic connection for Bournemouth in 2018/19 was not exactly easy to foresee.

In each of the five seasons either side of that standout campaign, the pair didn't combine for more than one league goal. Yet between August 2018 and May 2019, the pair dovetailed to devastating effect. Go figure.

2. Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton (13) - 1994/95

They may have held the outright record for 15 years and may still have the best partnership nickname in English football history, but SAS - supposedly - never clicked as well off the pitch as on it.

Chris Sutton would later reflect on the 'lack of warmth' from Shearer during their two seasons together at Blackburn, with the presence of Newell always thought to be looming over the new first-choice duo.

Nevertheless, for that first campaign - 1994/95 - Shearer and Sutton sparkled, netting 63% of Rovers' goals between them en route to the only Premier League title either would hoist aloft.

1. Harry Kane & Son Heung-min (14) - 2020/21

After netting a late winner against Burnley, Son Heung-min waited for his Tottenham teammate to join him with open arms and a question: "Did you get the assist?"

Harry Kane delivered a nod of reassurance.

It took the Spurs duo less than half a season to match the long-standing Premier League record, prompting their manager Jose Mourinho to aptly describe their frightening link up as the continuation of 'special things'.

Then, against Crystal Palace in early March, they combined for a 14th time, as Son teed up Kane to become record breakers.

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