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Pep Guardiola has surprised many with his tactical tinkering once again this season. Faced with the difficult decision of incorporating only one of his star striking duo of Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus, he has altered his system to accommodate both.
The all-South American partnership has provided flair, pace, movement and, most importantly, goals. Manchester City are currently top of the Premier League table with the joint-highest attacking output of 16 goals, and their strike pairing has been integral to this.
Agüero has found the net five times in five outings, while Jesus has scored four goals in five games. Together, they are therefore responsible for a remarkable 56.3 per cent of City’s 16 league goals so far.
As a new duet they look incredibly well-adjusted to one another, and their ability to make and take chances for each other could fire Guardiola’s side to the title. But they have some way to go before they can call themselves the best strike pairing in Premier League history.
Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton struck up a wonderful understanding to lead Blackburn Rovers to the title in 1994/95. They only played together for two seasons – and Sutton watched from the sidelines for much of the second campaign – but in 94/95 the pair grabbed 39 goals in 42 league appearances between them.
Another surprisingly effective pairing was formed by Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn at Sunderland. This little-and-large combo helped the then-newly promoted Black Cats to a shock seventh-place finish in 1999/00, hitting 44 goals between them. Sensationally, they alone were responsible for just over 77 per cent of their team’s total that term.
Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole are perhaps the most iconic Premier League strike duet. The pair helped Manchester United to victory in the 1998/99 Champions League and, during three full seasons together at Old Trafford, scored a combined 92 league goals.
Perhaps the most effective contrast of strikers within the same system came when the powerful, aggressive Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink teamed up with the smooth and sophisticated Eiður Guðjohnsen at Chelsea. Over four years alongside each other, they hit 110 goals.
Liverpool have had their fair share of quality attacking combinations over the years, but few have been as productive as Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge were between 2012/13 and 2013/14. The duo scored 85 goals across those two campaigns, leading a title challenge in the latter season.
On the basis of the above, Jesus and Agüero cannot yet be considered equal to any of these attacking duets on potential alone. But who do you think was the best Premier League strike partnership of all time?
Have your say by voting in the ballot below and you can see how much of an impact Agüero and Jesus have on their City team by clicking here.