Football Features

The top 10 most iconic duos in the Premier League

By Steve Jennings

Published: 13:30, 20 March 2019 | Updated: 8:08, 25 March 2019

The Premier League has had its fair share of iconic duos over the years.

From Dwight Yorke and Andrew Cole to John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho via Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp, key partnerships have been instrumental to success in the English top-flight in the last two-and-a-half decades.

But these relationships between two specific players aren’t exclusive to the top clubs. Indeed, there are currently definitive pairings throughout the division, emblematic of the Premier League’s varied style and entertainment value.

So below, we’ve picked out the top 10 iconic duos in the Premier League right now.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette

At times this season, Unai Emery has been forced to choose between the two centre-forwards in his squad, Aubameyang and Lacazette. Ultimately, though, the pair belong on the pitch together as they complement each other perfectly.

Lacazette is the harder worker, the supporting player who has provided nine assists in his 29 league appearances this term. Aubameyang has more of a nose for goal; he is the Premier League’s joint-second top scorer with 17 goals.

In the 21 matches they’ve started together, the pair have scored 24 combined goals and provided 10 assists. And when either one scores, they are always quite literally on hand to congratulate one another with their trademark celebration.

Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez

When Wolves made the step up to the Premier League last year, there were question marks over whether some of their players would adapt.

But the forwards have proved to be two of Wolves’ key men in the push for a top-seven finish and FA Cup glory. As evidence, following a three-game winless run in early March, Jota and Jiminez scored within two minutes of each other to secure a vital victory over Cardiff.

And two weeks later they were at it again, bagging a goal each within six minutes of each other to knock Manchester United out of the FA Cup. With Jimenez at No.9 and Jota floating around him, the duo pose an enviable threat.

Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson

Partnerships aren’t always made up of two players in the same position, as proven by Fraser and Wilson, a winger and striker respectively.

Every striker needs a provider and Wilson has one of the division’s most creative players to aid his cause this season. Only Eden Hazard (11) has more assists than Fraser in the Premier League in 2018/19; his 10 is also one more than Christian Eriksen, Paul Pogba, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.

Wilson has scored 11 league goals this term, and the pair have created nine goals for each other, more than any other duo in the Premier League this season.

Dele Alli and Harry Kane

Two goals from this season paint a perfect picture of the symbiosis between Alli and Kane. Against Arsenal in the EFL Cup quarter-finals, Kane came off the bench to play the perfect lofted pass to Alli, who peeled off the last line of defence brilliantly and lifted the ball over the onrushing Petr Cech.

In Spurs’ 2-1 defeat at Southampton, Alli – having just returned from a hamstring injury – reciprocated with a clever chipped pass to put Kane through on goal.

The effectiveness of the relationship lies in the duo’s interchangeability; Alli often plays beyond Kane, who likes to drop into the No.10 role and bring others into play. The pair have had a hand in 28 league goals between them this season.

Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy

The majority of Brighton’s most important results since their promotion to the Premier League have been down to the defensive resilience of Dunk and Duffy, a centre-back pairing that would start for most teams in the bottom half of the table.

Dunk and Duffy were separated for four matches in December due to suspension. Brighton lost three of them and drew the other. The defenders clearly rely on each other to a large degree, and the Seagulls would likely struggle if one of them missed a significant period.

It’s a partnership that supports the idea that a good, consistent centre-back pairing is needed to ensure Premier League survival.

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Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford

Generally, central midfielders don’t develop relationships with centre-forwards; it’s usually a No. 10 who dovetails with a striker. But Pogba and Rashford have taken their collaboration to the next level in recent months.

First-team coach Michael Carrick recently revealed United’s winner against Tottenham in January – created by Pogba and scored by Rashford – was the result of hours on the training pitch but also noted the relationship between Pogba and Rashford is unable to be coached, such is their almost telepathic understanding on the pitch.

Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue

Watford have been the Premier League’s quiet overachievers this season. A flying start saw them pull away from the relegation scrap immediately, and they’ve remained in the top half since then.

Javi Gracia in part has the midfield pairing of Doucoure and Capoue to thank for that. The pair have been mainstays in the Watford team all season, playing nearly exactly the same amount of minutes and bringing strength and drive to the Hornets’ midfield.

Watford are just a point behind Wovles in the race for seventh, and the sides will face off in the FA Cup semi-finals. Doucoure and Capoue will be pivotal to any success their side achieves in either competition.

Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes

After starting the season incredibly slowly, the awakening of Wood and Barnes has coincided with Burnley’s drastic improvement since the festive period

Before December 22nd, the strikers had notched just three Premier League goals between them. They are now averaging a goal every other game; Wood has six in his last 12 and Barnes has seven in his last 14. Both players were in and out of the team in the first half of the campaign, but they are now regulars again.

Dyche’s decision to keep faith in the duo has paid off. Wood and Barnes are at their best when working together to harry opposition defenders, forcing them into mistakes and taking advantage with goals.

David Silva and Bernardo Silva

Kevin de Bruyne’s injury troubles have seen Bernardo Silva play more of a central role for Manchester City, and the Portugal international has done more than enough to earn himself a regular spot in the team, scoring five goals and providing seven assists in 29 Premier league appearances.

In fact, the champions have shone brightest this term when both Bernardo and David Silva are in the starting line-up. With either Ilkay Gundogan or Fernandinho sitting deeper, the Silvas have been able to combine to devastating effect just behind the front line.

Bernardo has been touted as David’s long-term successor, but for now Pep Guardiola is reaping the rewards of playing them both.

Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold

Utilising the full-backs is a crucial component of Jurgen Klopp’s approach, which is why the German must be delighted to have two wide defenders who play exactly in the way he wants them to.

Robertson and Alexander-Arnold get so far forward they are often the highest Liverpool players on the pitch, making overlapping runs and providing cut-backs for the team’s lethal front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

As a result, they have formed an unusual kind of partnership in that neither side of the opposition defence is safe; if Roberton’s path is blocked down the left, Alexander-Arnold will threaten down the right instead. It’s not as symbiotic as some other on-pitch relationships, but it’s clearly an example of two players making the most of each other’s presence.