Is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen the best strike pairing in the Premiership?

Last updated : 27 February 2002 By Rich Godden

When the current Premiership season started, it became clear that Claudio Ranieri intended to play Gianfranco Zola alongside Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in attack. However, Jimbo's European suspension gave Eidur Gudjohnsen an opportunity to prove his worth. And that is exactly what he did, scoring several times over the two legs against Levski Sofia. Since then, Jimmy and Eidur have developed a stunning understanding which has helped them to 42 goals between them in all competitions. Their understanding became apparent to the rest of the Premiership in the month of December when they linked up for some brilliant goals against the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool. But how do they rate against the other strike partnerships in the Premiership. I decided to take a look at how other strike partnerships have blossomed, giving them a rating out of ten...

Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer:
The Manchester United strike pairing is simply stunning. Both players possess a stunning ability to finish their chances and their aerial prowess gives United so many options. Their 42 goals this season in all competitions is only equalled by Chelsea's strike pairing and they are sure to add many more to that total. It was questionable as to whether Solskjaer could excel as a first choice striker having spent so much time coming on from the bench but his performances have proved what an excellent player he is. The understanding between the two could do with a bit of work but they don't come much better than this. 9/10

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen:
Recently, Chelsea were extremely reliant on the goals of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. That has all changed now following the arrival of Eidur Gudjohnsen as a top class striker. He had shown a lot of promise for the Blues last season but only now has he proved to the rest of the Premiership what Chelsea fans were raving about. The link up play between the two of them is stunning, with an almost telepathic link between them. 42 goals this year is a very good return so far this season but if one criticism can be made of them it is that both have a tendency to waste opportunities against the smaller teams, saving their best performances for the big sides. But the same could easily be said about Chelsea. 9/10

Michael Owen and Emile Heskey:
This strike pairing has proven credentials but this season has not brought the amount of goals that many would have expected. Owen remains a constant threat but suffers too many injuries, whilst Heskey has only recently discovered his best form. It is clear that Heskey's goalscoring problems were to with confidence as he is now banging them in for fun. This is likely to be the strike pairing for England at this summers World Cup and their are few better to lead the line. 8/10

Alan Shearer and Craig Bellamy:
Alan Shearer has found his perfect foil in the shape of Craig Bellamy. The little Welshman possess' incredible pace that drags defenders out of position, leaving room for Shearer to bang in the goals. But, make no mistake, Bellamy is chipping in with his fair share of goals and, if this partnership continues to prosper, expect Newcastle to grab a Champions League spot at the very least.

James Beattie and Marian Pahars:
One of the reasons for Southampton reaching the dizzy heights of mid table this season has been their strike partnership. Unfortunately, Beattie has recently suffered damage to his ankle and may be out for some time. But before his injury, he and Pahars were dominating defences and linking up well. They almost single handedly destroyed Chelsea on New Years Day and have gone from strength to strength this season. Expect them to lead Southampton's front line for many years to come. 7/10

Les Ferdinand and Teddy Sheringham:
The golden oldies have come back stronger than ever this season to lead Tottenham to the Worthington Cup final. Sheringham is in such a rich vein of form that it seems likely that he will go to the World Cup with England this summer. The form of Les Ferdinand has also been excellent and, along with Gus Poyet in midfield, they are helping to revive Spurs' fortunes this season. A European place would be guaranteed if they won the Worthington Cup but they could also gain it through the league. 7/10

You may be thinking why I have left Arsenal's and Leeds' strike partnerships out. The simple reason being that Arsenal's strikers, minus Henry, have not chipped in with enough league goals and Leeds have only recently acquired Robbie Fowler to partner Mark Viduka so the jury is still out on them. Overall, it has to be said that Manchester United and Chelsea clearly have the best strike partnerships in terms of goals and understandings.