Posted on Monday, 17th May 2010 by Chudi
In the first of a series of reader inspired pieces I will be looking at some of Manchester United’s most effective partnerships. I will be focusing mainly on the Premiership era but feel free to add your own suggestions Premiership era or not in the comments. Thanks to our Twitter follower @Sebastiancp1 for the concept.
Steve Bruce & Gary Pallister
Manchester United have been blessed with a number of good defenders McGrath, Buchan, Stam etc all spring to mind instantly but as a pairing Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister are hard to beat. Dolly and Daisy as they were known were both individually skilled, Pallister good in the air as well as with the ball at his feet whilst Bruce was more rugged, hard tackling and imposing in the air and their seven season spell together at the heart of United’s defence yielded many rewards as they lifted 3 Premiership titles, 2 FA Cups, a League Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup. Not only a solid defensive unit both posed a significant goal threat more so Bruce whose two headers against Sheffield Wednesday were instrumental in us winning our first league title in 26 years.
To be blessed with one imperious centre back pairing is lucky but two is enough to make you hit your knees and thank God! Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic’s partnership for me is massively impressive as I am at an age where I can truly appreciate what I’m seeing.
Ferdinand’s classy defensive play perfectly compliments Vidic’s no nonsense body on the line defending and at their best they are truly impregnable. In the 2007-2008 season the two came up against the cream of Europe’s attack and triumphed over them all as United did a memorable domestic and European double.
Neither are perfect, Vidic seems to have problems with a certain Spanish striker and injuries and lapses in concentration can affect Rio’s game but I still stand by the fact that the two are a good bet to close the door in the face of any strike force in the world on their day.
When Dwight Yorke joined United in 1998 nobody knew the affect he would have on the club. He struck up a near telepathic partnership with Andy Cole. Sheringham and Solskjaer, Cantona and Hughes and Van Nistelrooy and Rooney were all entertaining to see but there was something special about Cole and Yorke.
Although their spell together at the club was short, they were instrumental in bringing United an unprecedented treble as they notched up an impressive 53 goals between them with Yorke bagging 30 and Cole 23. Their partnership is embodied by United’s second goal in the CL group stage 3-3 draw with Barcelona in the Camp Nou where a one two, pass and move, dummy and run between the two was finished by Cole.
The two would help United retain the Premier League next season before Cole moved on in 2001, joining Blackburn for £8m.
When you put an excellent passer of the ball/set piece taker together with an absolute monster of a striker the out come is always going to be goals and that’s what we got with Van Nistelrooy and Beckham. Van Nistelrooy thrived on a good supply of balls and Beckham was the best man for the job with his excellent crossing and passing. In the two seasons the two spent together 01/02 and 02/03 Van Nistelrooy scored 36 + 44 goals respectively, this isn’t to say Beckham set up everyone of his goals but he played an integral part in a large part of them.
There have been many more, I could talk about Beckham and Neville, Teddy and Ole but these are some of the most effective/best partnerships for us. Like I said if you disagree or have any to add yourself leave them in the comments section!