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The Best Goalscoring Partnerships Across Europe This Season

The Best Goalscoring Partnerships Across Europe This Season

Thursday, 25 April, 2019 - 05:45
Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson have an incredible connection this season. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images
London - Martin Laurence
Who springs to mind when you think about great Premier League strike partnerships? Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton? Niall Quinn and Kevin Phillips? Dwight York and Andy Cole? Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp? Bournemouth players Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser may not be in such exalted company, but they are closing in on a Premier League goalscoring record this season.

After combining twice in Bournemouth’s 5-0 win at Brighton on Saturday – Wilson set up Fraser’s goal and then Fraser returned the compliment by assisting Wilson – they have now linked up for 11 goals this season. No partnership has a better total since the Premier League was reduced to 20 teams in 1995.

Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore (1995-96) and Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka (1998-99) both linked up for 10 goals in a single season, but Wilson and Fraser leapfrogged that total on Saturday and are now aiming for the all-time record set by Shearer and Sutton in 1994-95, when they combined for 13 goals as Blackburn won the league (although they did it in a 42-game season).

With four games remaining, the Bournemouth pair have a chance to create a little bit of history. What makes their connection so remarkable is that both of them are benefitting so much from the other. They are both providers and they are both finishers; Fraser has set up six of Wilson’s goals and Wilson has assisted Fraser five times. No other player in the league has laid on more than four goals for a single teammate.

And they are doing all this for Bournemouth, who have a negative goal difference and are currently 12th in the league – where they finished last season. The link-up between Wilson and Fraser accounts for 22.4% of the goals Bournemouth have scored in the Premier League this season. It’s little wonder a number of top clubs England are contemplating ending Bournemouth’s blossoming bromance.

Fraser and Wilson are doing something remarkable, but they are not the partnership who are thriving in Europe’s big leagues this season. In fact, two Sevilla players are combining just as well.

Nicolas Pépé and Jonathan Bamba, Lille

Both players were on the scoresheet Lille’s sensational 5-1 win over PSG at the weekend, but the two wingers did not directly combine for a goal on that particular occasion. They have done so seven times in Ligue 1 this season though, which is mightily impressive. It is also indicative of the team’s counter-attacking style under Christophe Galtier, considering that the two 23-year-olds play on opposite flanks. Pépé has done most of the creating, teeing up five goals for Bamba, who has returned the favour twice.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, PSG

Given that they haven’t played together in the league for more than three months due to Neymar’s injury, the presence of the prolific PSG pair here highlights the rapport they have built on the pitch. Fittingly, they assisted each other in their last outing together – a 9-0 trouncing of Guingamp. Mbappé has been the provider more often in the partnership, setting up Neymar four times; the Brazilian, in turn, laid on three goals for Mbappé before his injury.

Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, Barcelona

The appearance of this duo in this list is no shock. Perhaps the only surprise is that they have not combined for more than seven league goals this season. The South Americans combined 14 times in the 2015-16 season, but they are some way off the South Coast duo this time around.

Raúl Jiménez and Diogo Jota, Wolves

Wolves signed Diogo Jota on loan and then gave him a permanent deal last season and they have done the same with Raúl Jiménez this season. It’s clear to see why the club wanted to make the partnership permanent. The Wolves front two – a little and large partnership of years gone by – have forged a great understanding, combining for seven league goals. Jota’s intelligent movement and Jiménez’s hold-up play have been pivotal as the club have climbed up the table to contend for a place in Europe. Jota has laid on four goals for Jiménez, with the striker’s unselfish play yielding three assists for Jota.

Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sané, Manchester City

Much like with Pépé and Bamba, the way Sterling and Sané combine from opposite sides of the pitch is testament to City’s free-flowing attacking football. The type of goals they create for one another are similar too, with one pulling the ball across the six-yard box for the other to finish. It is predictable yet somehow unstoppable. Sané has set up four goals for Sterling, who has assisted Sané three times.

Raheem Sterling and Sergio Agüero, Manchester City

The fact that Sterling appears on this list twice shows just how impressive he has been this season. His ability to link up with whoever joins him in the City attack has made him one of the country’s biggest threats over the past two seasons. Sergio Agüero has certainly profited from Sterling’s progress. The Argentinian has scored four goals from Sterling’s assists this season and has, in turn, set up Sterling three times.

Wissam Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia, Sevilla

Anything Wilson and Fraser can do for Bournemouth, Ben Yedder and Sarabia can do for Sevilla. They have also combined for 11 goals this season and the breakdown is the same, with Yedder assisting Sarabia six times and the Spaniard returning the favour for five goals. Curiously, the striker has more assists than the midfielder and that was the case in their 3-2 win over local rivals Real Betis at the weekend.

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