Make mine a double: great City partnerships - Manchester City FC

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Season 2012/13

Make mine a double: City’s greatest partnerships

  • 14 February 2013 08:28
  • Posted by @markbooth_mcfc, @dclayton_MCFC, @mccarthy_mcfc and @porter_mcfc

Great partnerships come along once in a Blue Moon and to celebrate St Valentine’s Day, we’ve come up with some of City’s greatest combinations over the years.

Which is the best – everyone will have their own answer to that, but hopefully, you’ll agree that the five partnerships we’ve come up with are certainly there or thereabouts….

Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez

We begin with our most recent player partnership – a majestic match made in Argentina!

When Sergio Aguero signed for the Blues in the summer of 2011, it didn’t take long for him to strike the right note with his fellow countryman, Carlos Tevez.

The Buenos Aires-born pair quickly became a formidable force on the pitch as well as continuing their close friendship off it.

Between them, the dream duo have clocked up over 100 goals for the club, 27 of these helping the Blues to their first league title in 44 years.

In a run stretching over the end of last season and start of this campaign, City won 14 games on the trot when Aguero and Tevez were selected as the starting striking pair.

Both Argentine aces have spoken about how they have supported each other while achieving successes at City.

The good news? This love story continues…

#lovecity

Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic

Ali Benarbia was brought to City on a free transfer in 2001 by Kevin Keegan as cover for the injured Eyal Berkovic but it was the Israeli playmaker’s return that gave birth to one of the most memorable partnerships in recent history.

Fielding both of these creative forces in the same team as part of a 3-5-2 with Kevin Horlock anchoring midfield proved to be a masterstroke from Keegan, as some of the most exciting, attacking football was seen in City’s promotion-winning 2001/02 season.

The pair complemented one another perfectly, with Benarbia’s lock-pick’s eye for a killer pass and taste for spectacular goals blending together with Berkovic’s ability to take on defenders with devastating, slaloming dribbles.

That season City scored more than 100 goals for the first time since the 1957/58 season in Division One and won the league by more than 10 points, thanks in no small part to this diminutive duo.

Benarbia went on to win the club’s Player of the Year award that season, while Berkovic claimed the award himself in the following season back in the Premier League.

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Paul Dickov and Shaun Goater

The Dickov and Goater partnership lit up the lower divisions and helped City take their first steps back towards today’s success.

Both men in this striking duo grabbed the headlines for goals – Goater finished as top scorer for the Blues in four consecutive seasons across three different seasons from 1998-99.

But it was Dickov who scored the most famous goal of that period, smashing in the 95th minute equaliser against Gillingham at Wembley in May 1999 in the Division 2 Playoff Final. Predictably, the assist went to his partner. 

That goal crowned a brilliant season for the pair, who struck fear into defences with 37 goals between them.

Both players continued to earn starting berths for City in the following two seasons, battling new signings as the Blues won promotion to the Premier League. 

When Dickov was appointed manager of Oldham in 2010, it was his old striking partner who was one of the first to back him

This duo definitely lasted the distance. 

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David White and Niall Quinn

The early 1990s saw City finish in the top 5 for the first time in more than a decade and spearheading the attack was the lethal front pairing of David White and Niall Quinn.

It was an ideal front pairing in many ways with Quinn’s height and White’s speed almost impossible to defend against at times.

There would be many times when a lofted ball up to Quinn would be glanced by the big Irishman into White’s path – the result?

White and Quinn were inevitably the Blues’ top scorers. Neither player had quite the same effect without the other and neither quite hit the heights with other clubs that they did with City.

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Bell, Lee and Summerbee

The only trio in this list, the Blues’ ‘Holy Trinity’ of Colin Bell, Francis Lee and Mike Summerbee were at the forefront of City’s glory days of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

A combination of determination, skill and a refusal to accept second best meant that whenever all three were on the pitch, City had a great chance of winning the game.

Bell, Lee and Summerbee graced the Blues’ starting XI for the best part of five years and during that time City won the League, FA Cup, League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Bell’s endless energy and surging runs from midfield, Summerbee’s trickery and devilment on the right and Lee’s finishing, determination and thunderbolt shooting – it was perhaps the most potent combination the Blues have ever had.

Surely we've missed some, so make sure you let us know your favourite City partnership on Twitter, using the hashtag: #lovecity.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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