The Best Frontline Of All Time? MSN v The Rest
Arsène Wenger and his troops march bravely into battle this evening for their last 16 tie against Barcelona, facing off against a fearsome forward line that many are now saying is the best of all time.
It’s a matchup that could well see The Gunners dumped out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage for the 6th consecutive season and judging by the scoring record this season of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, the forecast is bleak for Wenger’s men.
But where does the newly crowned MSN feature on the list of best striking alliances of all time? Today we have a look at their competition.
5. Alan Shearer & Chris Sutton – Combined Cost – £8.6m
As Leicester City threaten to score an unlikely Premier League title this season, Blackburn Rovers remain the only team outside Arsenal, Chelsea, and Manchester’s big two to have their name engraved on the Premier League trophy.
And it’s the famed SAS they have to thank for that particular accolade. Both broke the English transfer record when they joined Blackburn as Jack Walker flashed his millions. Shearer joined from Southampton in 1992 for £3.6m, while Sutton linked up with the England hitman following a £5m transfer from Norwich two years later.
The marriage flourished in the 1994/95 season, as Shearer and Sutton shared 46 goals between them, enough to deny Manchester United a third consecutive title after a nail-biter on the final day of the season. The partnership was short lived however. Sutton failed to find the net in Blackburn’s title defence the following season while Shearer proved he could go it alone scoring 31.
4. Dwight Yorke & Andy Cole. Combined Cost – £19.6m
The two best buddies spearheaded United’s famous march towards the treble in 1998/99.
Cole had stuttered since joining from Newcastle in 1995 but found the perfect foil in the shape of Trinidad & Tobago’s most famous son whenever he arrived from Villa in 1997. The pair struck up an instant rapport and went on to score 53 goals between them in their first season as strike partners, losing only one game together in the process.
Their one-twos in the Nou Camp live long in the memory as an example of the chemistry between the pair who just couldn’t stop scoring, both on and off the pitch.
3. Kenny Dalglish & Ian Rush. Combined Cost – £740,000
Once considered the deadliest strike duo in Europe, Kenny Dalglish and Ian Rush scored nearly 350 goals between them as Liverpool players and struck up a partnership Rush described as ‘telepathic.’
Their secret? Rush says Dalglish instructed him to simply “run into the space, I’ll find you.” Sounds simple, but it worked. In Bob Paisley’s last two seasons the Kop legends led Liverpool to two successive league and cup doubles before winning Europe’s biggest prize in Joe Fagan’s first year at the helm. The Player of the Year awards came rolling in for both and a Match of the Day poll rated them as the best strike partnership in the post-war era.
2. Messi, Suarez and Neymar – Combined Cost £136.5m
It’s the threesome you’d crave more than any other – because the record of this trinity is enough to get any fan drooling.
They have come into their own this season, scoring a staggering 91 goals between them already, which is 30 more than Arsenal’s whole squad.
If there is any shred of hope for Arsenal their own trio of Giroud, Sanchez and Ozil have 10 goals in the Champions League this season, matching the fearful Barcelona frontline in this competition. But ranking as they are so high on the list of all time greats, expect the MSN to have the last laugh.
1. Alfredo di Stefano & Ferenc Puskás. Combined Cost – 4.5m Pesetas
It’s probably the modern day equivalent of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi playing in the same attack. These two real Madrid legends were strike partners from 1958 onwards, and won 4 consecutive league titles from 1960 as well as two European Cups.
Their predatorial instincts are no more eveident than on the scoresheet from the 1960 European Cup Final at Hampden Park. A 7-3 defeat of Eintracht Frankfurt saw Di Stefano score a hat-trick, while Puskas bagged the other four. They remain two of only 3 men to score hat-tricks in European Cup finals, incredibly both in that same match.
A collective goals haul of 550 as Real Madrid players is staggering enough, before you realise that their partnership as one of the deadliest duos in football history began when both were in their 30s.