Perfect partners

By Jovan Belev Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/17 16:08:39

Kane and Son in line to be deadliest of duos

Son Heung-min (left) and Harry Kane Photo: VCG

"With Kane and Son, what Mourinho has done has been incredible," former Spurs striker Jermain Defoe said on a recent episode of the Mennie Talks Podcast.

"Those two are the best partnership in world football at the minute. The hardest thing that you can do at the top level is to be consistent, so for those two to show that consistency, for me is unbelievable."

They combined again last weekend. It was not a great goal and nor was it a great assist but Harry Kane's goal for Spurs against Crystal Palace last weekend took them within one goal of history.

This was one more to add to the partnership where one provides the assist and the other finishes to deadly effect.

Yes, it could be argued that this goal owed more to the mistake of Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita rather than the shooting accuracy of England captain Kane or the quality of the assist from South Korea skipper Son.

Nevertheless, the Premier League's top statisticians marked it down as what it was, one step closer to a landmark.  

"Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min have now combined for 12 goals in the Premier League this season," Opta Joe, the Twitter account of English Premier League statistics provider of choice, Opta, wrote on Twitter. "Only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton in 1994-95 have linked up for more in a single season (13). Unstoppable."

They are indeed unstoppable. We were only 12 games - less than a third - into the season when Kane and Son hit the 12-goal mark for goals they have assisted one another on.

As an aside, what is more remarkable is that they have accounted for exactly half of the league leaders' 24 goals with their direct combinations leading to a goal.

Sutton and Shearer's was set when they played together for Blackburn Rovers in the Ewood Park side's English Premier League title-winning season of 1994-95.

They combined for 13 goals - of 56 goals between them for the season - for Kenny Dalglish's Rovers as they pipped Manchester United to the title. It should also be noted that this was back in the days of 42-game seasons.

Unluckily for some, their 13 remains the benchmark, despite so many seasons and strike partnerships in the intervening years. Can Kane and Son finally raise the bar?

Of course, they could have already done so when they travelled to Anfield in midweek to visit the champions Liverpool. Kane and Son may have seen it as a chance to prove beyond any doubt that they are the deadliest duo in football.

Once they have Shearer and Sutton - or the SAS as they were known - surpassed then Son and Kane can chase down another record.

The elephant in the room is the long-standing total of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, the deadliest duo in Premier League history.

The Chelsea pair combined for 36 goals between them during their time together at Stamford Bridge. Kane and Son are only four behind them, having already made up 12 on them in 12 games this season.

In the weeks since the Premier League kicked off in August, they have passed some of the best names in English football history.

The most recent leapfrog was with their 11th combination of the season, which came - along with the 10th - in the North London Derby against local rivals Arsenal.

That was fitting as they passed Arsenal legends Thierry Henry and Robert Pires on 29 goals, as well as Manchester City duo David Silva and Sergio Aguero on the same number.

They had already beaten the best by a former Spurs pair - the 27 of Darren Anderton and Teddy Sheringham.

The Lampard-Drogba record is there to be broken and the current Spurs strikers look like the players to do it. 

Kane has laid on eight goals for Son this season, with the former Bayer Leverkusen and Hamburg man returning the favour on four occasions in the league.

Shockingly, given the low returns of the record number of goals directly scored between strike partners, this is not already a new benchmark.

Liverpool's Stan Collymore managed nine for Robbie Fowler in the 1995-96 season while Mike Newell did the same for Shearer at Blackburn Rovers before being forced out of the team by new signing Sutton.

Again, these figures were accomplished over the course of a full season and this is early days in the 2020-21 campaign.

Surely, Kane and Son will better that between them, not that it matters who is scoring and who is assisting.

Here are the Premier League's notable combinations, who have scored 10 or more goals between them - though the names might be somewhat surprising.

Ryan Fraser & Callum Wilson, Bournemouth (2018-19, 12 goals)

Scotland winger Fraser and ­England striker Wilson set a new ­record for a 38-game season playing for the Cherries. Their 12th combination was Wilson's leveller in a 3-3 draw with Southampton in their antepenultimate game of the season but they could not add a 13th in either of their last two matches. Newcastle United signed both players this summer after Bournemouth were relegated.

Les Ferdinand & Kevin Gallen, QPR (1994-95, 11 goals)

England international Ferdinand would go on to be the 11th all-time top scorer in Premier League history while Gallen would be fondly remembered at Loftus Road where he had two spells on a career that went down the leagues. This was in a 42-game season.

Mike Newell & Alan Shearer, Blackburn (1995-96, 11 goals)

The record before Wilson and Fraser set theirs, it had to involve the league's all-time top scorer, Shearer. The pair put on 11 goals as Blackburn failed to retain the title. Notably, Shearer only set up his strike partner twice.

Stan Collymore & Robbie Fowler, Liverpool (1995-96, 11 goals)

Another lopsided partnership, Fowler scored nine and set up two for Collymore, and one that ended without winning the Premier League. Son and Kane will not want to replicate the trophyless aspect of their partnership.

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