Woodbridge and Woodforde. Torvill and Dean. Keegan and Toshack.
History is littered with great sporting partnerships. Two people who have a natural understanding and whose qualities perfectly complement each other. It’s a rare but beautiful aspect of professional sport.
Strike partnerships in football have traditionally brought about some of the best. In relatively recent memory, we’ve had Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton at Blackburn, and Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole at Manchester United—two pairs greater than the sum of their parts who led their sides to unprecedented success.
It’s too early to say whether Alvaro Negredo and Sergio Aguero will end up in the pantheon of great strike pairings. They’ve played together for just two months, and a judgement on the success of a partnership can only be reached after years together, but clearly the early signs are good. Manchester City have seemingly found two forwards who dovetail nicely, with the size and strength of Negredo complementing Aguero’s pace and skill.
Nine goals in four Champions League group games is an early demonstration of what they are capable of. Aguero scored five of those and Negredo four, with three assists between them in those matches too. It’s fair to say their understanding has been central to City progressing to the knockout phase of Europe’s elite club competition for the very first time.
They've also scored 12 and assisted nine in the Premier League already, making it 21 goals and 12 assists in all competitions. They've been an instant success.
As this report in the Daily Telegraph shows, they are the most lethal partnership in England when taking into account Champions League and Premier League matches. The much-feted Daniel Sturridge-Luis Suarez pairing has played far fewer games due to Liverpool's lack of Champions League involvement and Suarez's ban, but they are managing a goal every 45 minutes they play together, whereas Negredo and Aguero are scoring a goal every 40 minutes. Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie are further back with a goal every 61 minutes.
The Premier League's most potent strike partnerships, one of them Aguero and Negredo, compared (via Sky Sports). pic.twitter.com/10Uorb1Ouw— City Watch (@City_Watch) November 6, 2013
According to Sky Sports, Negredo says he felt comfortable playing with Aguero straight away, and says the fact that they both speak Spanish has been helpful.
"It's been good from day one and with both of us speaking Spanish, we understand each other.
"He's a great player, and with great players it's easy to get along.
"From the first moment we did well together and when we play, we understand one another."
That understanding was summed up perfectly during City's recent 3-1 win at Upton Park. A through ball from Fernandinho looked to be heading for Negredo, but with superb awareness of where his strike partner was, he nonchalantly left it for Aguero to run on to it and score. It was an excellent dummy and a piece of ingenious, unselfish play that was indicative of their time together so far at City.
The true test of this partnership's credentials will be whether they can continue to produce of a sustained period, but it's clear that they have the makings of a special strike force. Negredo's work outside the box is allowing Aguero to concentrate on scoring goals, and if they continue to perform at the level they are currently, City could well have a pair of strikers capable of winning them the title.
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.
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