Whatever happened to the strike partnership?

24 Dec

Watching Sky Sports News today, there was a piece mentioning the Shearer – Sutton partnership (SAS) and their 49 goal season. I realised that in today’s game there is not even one top level strike partnership. I remember Champions League nights where Raul – Morientes and Del Piero – Inzaghi ran riot. In the Premiership Cole – Yorke and Henry – Bergkamp spring to mind. Sheringham and Klinsmann were decent for Spurs, even the likes of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn at Sunderland got around 40 in a season. At the World Cup the main attraction, once England were dispatched, was watching great Brazilian duos like  Romario – Bebeto and Ronaldo – Rivaldo destroy everyone. So what happened?

4-5-1 happened. Teams got scared of losing and so in any big game someone plays 4-5-1. To be fair it is the optimal solution. There’s one striker – a Torres or a Drogba or a Carlton Cole. Then there’s the wide men, who may have been strikers previously. I know that teams have tried to resurrect the partnership. Robbie Keane didn’t work with Torres, Berba and Rooney have failed. It is a shame. There’s nothing quite like two strikers with a good understanding tearing a defense apart. Pity that it’s a dying art.

If you think about it the best teams out there are now built on great midfield partnerships. Xavi –Iniesta, Lampard – Essien, Gattuso – Pirlo. I was a big fan of the Fabregas – Flamini partnership even though Flamini was crap. No one could have predicted the impact of losing Xabi Alonso but just look where Liverpool are in the league!

Weird then that the first priority for pretty much everyone on Fifa or Pro is to sort out a good strike partnership. When building a team on Football Manager it’s all about building that outrageous, fantasy strike force – Aguero and Ronaldo have served me well. It’s ingrained in us. Pity that the next generation will probably get as excited about any midfield pairing that features Javier Mascherano…


One Response to “Whatever happened to the strike partnership?”

  1. ray July 29, 2015 at 8:51 am #

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