thumbnail Hello,

Deadly duos on paper...gruesome twosomes on the pitch

It’ll be take two at Craven Cottage for Chelsea as Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres attempt to forge a formidable strike partnership to propel Carlo Ancelotti's side back into fourth.

The new duo failed to click against Liverpool last week as Kenny Dalglish’s effective use of three central defenders nullified the threat of the two forwards with relative ease.

On paper, the partnership of Drogba and Torres should reap rewards. The Ivorian netted 37 times in all competitions for Chelsea last term, while Stamford Bridge’s latest acquisition in attack scored 22 goals for Liverpool last season, despite his own campaign ending through injury at the start of April.

But are they too similar? Both like to lead the line, run the channels and relish being the main goal-scoring threat of the team.

If Torres and Drogba fail to combine during their spell as Chelsea’s first-choice attacking preference, they wouldn’t be the first combination who looked devastating on a teamsheet, but were toothless on the pitch.
 
Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy - Netherlands

Netherlands' qualifying campaign for Euro 2004 failed to run smoothly, as they finished behind Czech Republic in the group stage which resulted in Dick Advocaat’s side requiring a play-off victory against Scotland to book their place in Portugal.

At the time, Advocaat had a wealth of attacking options in Kluivert, who had scored eight goals in 21 league games for Barcelona in the 2003-04 season, while in the same campaign, Van Nistelrooy had scored 20 goals in 32 Premier League appearances.

But before their convincing 6-1 aggregate victory in their two-leg play-off against Scotland, Advocaat ended any chance of Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy playing together after the pair struggled to strike up a convincing partnership during the qualification process.

"Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy will not play together in the same team again," said Advocaat before their tie against Scotland.

"Their partnership has not paid off at all. It is time for a change and something different."

Indeed, the duo were not paired together during Euro 2004, although strangely, before the tournament Advocaat conceded he favoured Kluivert, but instead he elected to choose Van Nistelrooy as his first-choice striker during the competition. The former Barcelona forward failed to make his way off the substitutes' bench in Holland’s five-game run in Portugal which ended in a semi-final loss to the hosts.

Kluivert also had an unhappy stint at Newcastle United where he failed to strike an understanding with Alan Shearer. The Dutchman netted just 13 goals in 37 appearances during his time at St James’ Park before he promptly moved to Valencia the following season complaining that he and Craig Bellamy should have started ahead of the Toon hero.

Ronaldo and Raul - Real Madrid

During their time together at the Bernabeu, the partnership between Real Madrid’s king and the Brazilian phenomenon deteriorated sharply.

After his arrival in 2002 from Inter, Ronaldo made a blistering start to his second stint in Spain as he scored 30 goals in 44 appearances, Raul quickly adapted to another addition to the galacticos family by chipping in with 25 goals in the same season, propelling Real Madrid to the La Liga title that year.

But the duo failed to build on their inaugural season together and Raul’s record in front of goal in particular began to show evidence this partnership was always on borrowed time.

Just two seasons later, Raul could only muster 13 goals in 43 appearances, while Ronaldo was beginning to show signs of fatigue, as well as exhibiting a susceptibility to injuries which had plagued his career at Inter.

With frequent spells on the sidelines, Ronaldo was never able to sustain an effective partnership with Raul, who continued to be an almost ever-present for Real Madrid. Struggling with the club’s training regime, a lack of affection from fans and the shackle of only winning one trophy during his time at the Bernabeu, the Brazilian left for AC Milan in 2007. 

Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen - Liverpool

The duo had all the hallmarks to be a success at Anfield – two instinctive finishers with excellent movement put together would strike fear into any defence. But the pair failed to forge a long-lasting partnership, although some of the blame would be cast in the direction of Gerard Houllier.

The Frenchman’s methods and preferred tactics were not always suited to Fowler, who failed to convince the former Liverpool manager that he was worthy of a consistent place ahead of Emile Heskey.

Off-the-pitch matters were not helped by Fowler’s dislike of Liverpool’s then assistant manager Phil Thompson, and with the two prominent figures of the Reds' backroom staff against the striker, a move away was imminent.

In 2001, both strikers played their part in sealing a hat-trick of cups for Liverpool, but it was often at the expense of the other. Fowler started on the bench in the FA Cup final - in which Owen scored twice in the last 10 minutes, whilst he would be back on the sidelines for the Uefa Cup final days later - this time coming off the bench to score as Liverpool defeated CD Alaves 5-4. However, it was Fowler's stunning long-range goal which gave Liverpool the lead in the League Cup final earlier in the season - as Owen watched from the sidelines.

In his final season at Liverpool, Fowler made just 17 appearances and scored four times and Owen continued to flourish with Heskey, the striker described as ‘God’ by the Kop was sold for £12 million to Leeds United. He made a return to Anfield under Rafael Benitez for 18 months in January 2006, scoring 12 goals in 39 games.

Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet - France

The duo sealed glory for France at Euro 2000 - Henry scoring goals throughout the competition whilst super-sub Trezeguet scored the winner in the final.

However, on the world stage two years later in Japan and Korea, attempts to make them work as a partnership crumbled.

Having being drawn in group A alongside Denmark, Senegal and Uruguay, Roger Lemerre’s men were expected to navigate their way with ease into the next round.

France drew a blank in their opening group game defeat to Senegal and after Henry was sent off in their second match against Uruguay, the partnership that had been lethal two years previous in Euro 2000 had been disrupted beyond repair.

The partnership returned to spearhead France’s attack two years later at Euro 2004 and although they eased through the group stage, Henry and Trezeguet were unable to break down Greece in the next round and were dumped out by the eventual tournament winners.

It’ll be take two at Craven Cottage for Chelsea as Didier Drogba and Fernando Torres attempt to forge a formidable strike partnership to propel Carlo Ancelotti’s side back into fourth.

 

The newly formed duo failed to strike an instant bond against Liverpool as Kenny Dalglish’s effective use of three central defenders nullified the threat of the two forwards with relative ease.

 

Arguably, Ancelotti’s insistence on playing Nicolas Anelka behind the two, which in turn sacrificed Chelsea’s width in their last outing, starved Torres and Drogba of varied service. Although the Frenchman looked bright in linking midfield with attack, the reality is the champions only mustered one shot on target during the entire game with this system.

 

On paper, the partnership of Drogba and Torres should reap rewards. The Ivorian netted 37 times in all competitions for Chelsea last term, while Stamford Bridge’s latest acquisition in attack scored 22 goals for Liverpool last season, despite his own campaign ending through injury at the start of April.

 

But in reality, the similarity between the two could result in the partnership failing to take off. At Liverpool, the attack was built around Torres, rather than pairing him with another striker. The closest Rafael Benitez came in a regular formation was the use of Steven Gerrard behind the Spaniard. Roy Hodgson was also reluctant to use the 26-year-old with David Ngog, instead the newly appointed West Brom manager elected to utilise Torres as a lone striker, and as such, was fed long balls and expected to convert chances.

 

Even Vicente Del Bosque indicated his reluctance to partner Torres in Spain’s World Cup-winning campaign last summer. David Villa was preferred as the spearhead in attack, while Andres Iniesta and Pedro acted as the closest support.

 

In the four games Torres started in a striking role in South Africa, he played an average of 60 minutes before being substituted and having Villa, or on one occasion Athletic Bilbao’s Fernando Llorente, subsequently take his place as the main focal point in attack.

 

Since his arrival at Stamford Bridge, Ancelotti has remained adamant Drogba and Anelka could strike an effective partnership together. Ironically, the duo combined well in this fixture last season, as Chelsea ran out 2-0 winners and Drogba’s opener came through a fine interchange with his French team-mate.

 

But Chelsea have largely used Drogba as the focal point in their 4-3-3 system and rather than partnering the Ivorian, Anelka has been shifted out wide, in the expectation that he will drift inside.

 

If Torres and Drogba fail to combine during their spell as Chelsea’s first-choice attacking preference, they wouldn’t be the first combination who looked devastating on a teamsheet, but were toothless on the pitch.

 


Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy

Holland

 

Holland’s qualifying campaign for Euro 2004 failed to run smoothly, as they finished behind Czech Republic in the group stage which resulted in Dick Advocaat’s side requiring a play-off victory against Scotland to book their place in Portugal.

 

At the time, Advocaat had a wealth of attacking options in Kluivert, who had scored eight goals in 21 league games for Barcelona in the 03/04 season, while in the same campaign, Van Nistelrooy had scored 20 goals in 32 Premier League appearances .

 

But before their convincing 6-1 aggregate victory in their two-leg play-off against Scotland, Advocaat ended any chance of Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy playing together after the pair struggled to strike up a convincing partnership during the qualification process.

 

"Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy will not play together in the same team again," said Advocaat before their tie against Scotland.

 

"Their partnership has not paid off at all. It is time for a change and something different."

 

Indeed, the duo were not paired together during Euro 2004, although strangely, before the tournament Advocaat conceded he favoured Kluivert, but instead he elected to chose Van Nistelrooy as his first-choice striker during the competition and the former Barcelona forward failed to make his way off the substitutes bench in Holland’s five-game run in Portgual which ended in a semi-final loss to the hosts.

 

Kluivert also had an unhappy stint at Newcastle United where he failed to strike an understanding with Alan Shearer. The Dutchman netted just 13 goals in 37 appearances during his time at St James’ Park and the forward promptly moved to Valencia the following season.

 

On his time at Newcastle, Kluivert told Voetbal International: "There is only one man responsible for the fact that I did not become a big hit in Newcastle, his name is Alan Shearer - the man is God in the North.

 

"I think Shearer is a fantastic footballer, but Graeme Souness should have played Bellamy and me together all the time.

 

"We formed the ideal partnership, Souness should have preferred both of us above Shearer.

 

"I know Bellamy felt the same but that did not make a difference. Every week it was Shearer and Kluivert or Shearer and Bellamy.

 

"Newcastle United Football Club is all about Alan Shearer, it is as simple as that. Nobody can beat him, nobody can touch him and nobody can do anything about it."

 

 

Ronaldo and Raul

 

Real Madrid

 

As the seasons progressed at the Bernabeu, the partnership between Real Madrid’s king and the mercurial Brazilian deteriorated sharply.

 

After his arrival in 2002 from Inter, Ronaldo made a blistering start to his second stint in Spain as he scored 30 goals in 44 appearances, Raul quickly adapted to another addition to the galacticos family by chipping in with 25 goals in the same season, propelling Real Madrid to the La Liga title that year.

 

But the duo failed to build on their inaugural season together and Raul’s record in front of goal in particular began to show evidence this partnership was always on borrowed time.

 

Just two seasons later, Raul could only muster 13 goals in 43 appearances, while Ronaldo was beginning to show signs of fatigue, as well as exhibiting a susceptibility to injuries which had plagued his career at Inter.

 

With frequent spells on the sidelines, Ronaldo was never able to sustain an effective partnership with Raul, who continued to be an almost ever-present for Real Madrid. Struggling with the club’s training regime, a lack of affection from fans and the shackle of only winning one trophy during his time at the Bernabeu, the Brazilian was in the frame for a move away.

 

Ronaldo conceded during the latter stages of his time at the Bernabeu: "The fans have never accepted me and their reaction is something to take into account when thinking about my future.

 

"I've always said that I don't want to be where I'm not loved. I've never felt at home at the Bernabeu, the fans have never treated me with affection."

 

Ronaldo was subsequently shown the door that summer and moved to AC Milan.

 

Robbie Fowler and Michael Owen

 

The duo had all the hallmarks to be a success at Anfield – two instinctive finishers with excellent movement put together would strike fear into any defence. But the pair failed to forge a long-lasting partnership, although some of the blame is pointed in the direction of Gerard Houllier.

 

The Frenchman’s methods and attitude regarding his selection policy during his time at Anfield was not welcomed by Fowler, who failed to convince the former Liverpool manager that he was worthy of a consistent place in the starting side. Further evidence of this came as Emile Heskey was brought in from Leicester City.

 

Off-the-pitch matters were not helped by Fowler’s dislike of Liverpool’s then assistant manager Phil Thompson, and with the two prominent figures of Liverpool’s backroom staff against the striker, a move away was imminent.

 

In his final season at Liverpool, Fowler made just 17 appearances and scored four times and Owen continued to flourish with Heskey, the striker described as ‘God’ by fans sat in the Kop was sold for £12 million to Leeds United.

 

Thierry Henry and David Trezeguet

 

France

 

The duo propelled France to glory in Euro 2000, however, on the world stage two years later in Japan and Korea, the partnership crumbled.

 

Having being drawn in group A alongside Denmark, Senegal and Uruguay, Roger Lemerre’s men were expected to navigate their way with ease into the next round.

 

France drew a blank in their opening group game defeat to Senegal and after Henry was sent off their second match against Uruguay, the partnership that had been lethal two years previous in Euro 2000 had been disrupted beyond repair.

 

The partnership returned to spearhead France’s attack two years later at Euro 2004 and although they eased through the group stage, Henry and Trezeguet were unable to break down Greece in the next round and were dumped out by the eventual tournament winners.



Our  provides the best breaking news online and our  football fan community is unmatched worldwide. Never miss a thing again!

Related

From the web