We take a look at whether three potential strike-partnerships in the Premier League might just fire their team to glory.
This week saw the return of the English Premier League, and with combined transfer spending and wage expenditure at an all-time high, so too has been the excitement in the build-up to the new season.
With several teams being touted to have a genuine shot at the title – and many more targeting an elusive top-four finish – we take a look at three potential strike partnerships which may just prove decisive.
Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović
Two of the biggest names in world football, and arguably two of the most gifted players of their generation – the budding partnership of Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimović has certainly got a lot of fans drooling.
Having signed from Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after scoring 50 goals for the French champions last season, Ibrahimović has certainly brought lofty expectations with him to Manchester.
With the talismanic Swedish forward now expected to start the majority of games for United this season, it only leaves the question of who will partner him up top.
In United’s only two competitive games of the season thus far, the answer has been Wayne Rooney – playing in a slightly deeper role in behind the slightly more attacking Ibrahimović.
With the two already having scored three goals between them in their opening two fixtures, the initial signs also seem to suggest that there is a natural chemistry between the two experienced strikers.
With Marcus Rashford yet to start however, and winger Anthony Martial also capable of leading the line, both strikers will have huge pressure on them to maintain their place in the side.
Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi
A slightly less conventional strike partnership, and one that is yet to be given a proper baptism by fire, Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi could certainly provide the goals that could fire Chelsea to Champions League football this term.
Despite enduring a mixed campaign with Chelsea last season, the ever-controversial Costa still managed to end the campaign with a respectable 16 goals to his name in all competitions.
Combine this with the 36 goals that Batshuayi was involved in last term – scoring 27 and assisting a further nine in all competitions – and Chelsea certainly have two strikers capable of striking up a deadly partnership up front.
Whether or not new manager Antonio Conte opts to go with a two striker system however remains to be seen. Chelsea started their game against West Ham on Monday with only Diego Costa up front, but ended the game with both him and Batshuayi on the field.
Despite only coming on in the 85th minute, it was also actually Batshuayi who assisted Costa for his winning goal, leading many fans of the club to hope that they too can strike up some form of chemistry, and persuade manager Conte to play the two of them as a pair.
Picture Supplied by Action Images
Olivier Giroud and Alaxandre Lacazette
The least likely potential duo on this list – owing mainly to the fact that one of them doesn’t actually play for the club yet – a supposed move by Arsenal to bring in Lacazette has been one of the transfer sagas of the summer so far.
With past players and fans of the club alike crying out for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to finally sign the top-class striker the club is in such desperate need of, the general consensus seems to be that in Lacazette, Wenger has found his man.
Having scored an immensely impressive 63 league goals over the past three seasons – including 48 in his last 67 games – for current club Olympique Lyonnais, the Frenchman certainly has the credentials and ability to back up the hype surrounding a potential deal.
Combine this criticality in and around the box with his blistering pace and movement off the ball, and you also have a man who appears to be the perfect strike partner for current Arsenal hitman Olivier Giroud.
Seemingly eternally criticised for his lack of movement up front, whilst simultaneously praised for his ability to involve himself in Arsenal’s much-vaunted build up play, Giroud has long been hailed as fantastically talented and clever striker – just merely one lacking in the correct partner.
With Lacazette, Arsenal seem finally to have found their man. Now all that remains to be seen is whether or not Wenger will be willing to back up his interest with a serious, concrete offer.