It’s been over ten years since we last witnessed the delightful and prolific partnership of Kevin Phillips and Niall Quinn terrorise the Premier League with their little and large combination on top of their goal score abilities. The memory of the pair scoring against Newcastle will forever be etched in my mind for the rest of my life, quite simply, they were idolised, and rightly so, during their time at the club.
But since then, many forced partnerships have been tried and failed over the years - Djibril Cisse alongside Kenwyne Jones, Darren Bent with Asamoah Gyan and finally, Marcus Stewart side by side with erm…Tore Andre Flo?
It’s clear to see that Sunderland have not recovered to emulate those glory days since the Super Kev and Sir Niall era, but Paolo Di Canio believes that the pairing of Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore can form one of the best partnerships in the Premier League.
“Both [Altidore and Fletcher] probably are thinking that they’re the main man up front. Same reason… but different reason. One has already been here, scored twelve goals and one came from abroad but scored many goals last year,
“If they don’t turn their face but the encourage each other, they can start that togetherness, they can be one of the best couple up front because they have quality and intelligence.”
We may have seen tiny glimpse of how this could work when we played Arsenal last week, in all it seemed like it could work. But it is way too early to say that it could be one of the best partnerships in the Premiership. I’ll be honest, I can’t see this partnership working, simply because of how different they are attributes-wise and in terms of the way they play.
Altidore will obviously be the muscle to hold up and link play with Fletcher, with the latter trying to play neat through balls, create and lurk in and around the box. That’s all I can muster up in terms of how these two will pair up - is that enough or have I missed something?
It was a huge relief to see Fletcher start and come through unscathed against Arsenal, he been missed dearly and it’s a huge boost to the club to have him back. His goals pretty much saved us last season and he was a gigantic miss when he was ruled out for the tail end of last season. What I did enjoy though, was his immediate impact when he came on during the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace, it was like he was never gone.
The key, is how well and quick PDC can get these two to knuckle down, work together and create as well as produce goals.
Personally I’m split on how this could work out. Jozy scored a lot of goals in the Dutch league but the Premier League is a whole different kettle of fish, regardless if he has played here before - although he has started brightly thus far.
If these two can strike a rhythm and they can read each others game on the pitch, then we may be comparing them to Phillips and Quinn and the goals will no doubt, tumble in. If not, then I feel it could be a long season and look elsewhere relying on the likes of Craig Gardner to lead the goals for Sunderland.
This has to happen sooner rather than later.