Aston Villa’s strikers have struggled for goals this season, but the club has been treated to some glorious forward partnerships over the years.
Only two of our chosen five best strike partnerships for Aston Villa come from the Premier League era, so we will cast our minds back into the depths of history.
Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson
Villa’s best strike partnership since the start of the Premier League era is, without a shadow of a doubt, Dean Saunders and Dalian Atkinson.
The dynamic duo, known as the Deadly Ds, fired Villa to second place in the first ever Premier League season, with the pair netting a combined 85 league goals over just three seasons.
Saunders and Atkinson were also the strikers when Villa won the 1994 League Cup final, in which Atkinson scored once and Saunders twice.
Atkinson was also the scorer of one of Villa’s most memorable goals ever, for which he was awarded Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season prize for the 1992-93 campaign. The forward ran from his own half before producing a delicious chip to beat Wimbledon’s goalkeeper.
The strikers left Villa in 1995, both heading to Turkey, but their goals will live long in the memory.
Andy Gray and Brian Little
Andy Gray might now be most famous as a disgraced former Sky Sports pundit, but back in the 1970s he was one of world football’s most fearsome strikers.
A battering ram of a player, Gray’s strike partner for much of his time at Villa Park was the speedy genius Brian Little, who scored the winner in the 1977 League Cup final.
Little hit 82 Villa goals, three more than Gray managed for the club, but it was Gray who was typically regarded higher – the Scot won both PFA Footballer of the Year and Young Player of the Year in 1976–77, the first player ever to win both prizes.
Dion Dublin and Juan Pablo Angel
Juan Pablo Angel was Villa’s record signing at £9.5 million when he joined the club and, in all honesty, his strike partnership with Dion Dublin should have been more productive than it was.
The pair were only at the club together for a few seasons, with Dublin’s Villa career winding down as Angel arrived, the Colombian hitting 62 Villa goals to Dublin’s 59.
Dublin is best remembered for his winning goal in Villa’s FA Cup semi-final win against Bolton Wanderers at Wembley in 2000, while Angel hit 23 goals in his best season at the club.
Only two strikers have scored more Premier League goals for Villa than Dublin and Angel – Gabby Agbonlahor and Dwight Yorke.
Eric Houghton and Tom Waring
In terms of sheer weight of goals, Eric Houghton and Tom Waring are certainly deserving of a mention as one of Villa’s best ever strike partnerships.
Waring, who went by the nickname of Pongo, hit over 150 goals for Villa in a seven-year spell before the Second World War, striking 10 hat-tricks and setting a club record by scoring 49 league goals in the 1930-31 campaign.
Houghton was Waring’s strike partner, notching 170 goals in 392 games in almost 20 years at the club – loyal service to the club that earned him the nickname Mr Aston Villa.
Indeed, Houghton even returned to manage Villa, leading the club to FA Cup glory in 1957.
Peter Withe and Gary Shaw
Peter Withe is deservedly a Villa legend, having hit the winning goal in the European Cup final against Bayern Munich.
Withe typically played alongside Gary Shaw, the 1982 European Young Footballer of the Year, with the pair also starring in the club’s title-winning campaign of 1980-81.
Shaw provided the pace and Withe the power in a truly unstoppable forward line and they were without a doubt the most successful and most important strike partnership in Villa’s rich history.
As commentator Brian Moore described Withe’s European Cup goal: “Shaw, Williams, prepared to venture down the left. There’s a good ball in for Tony Morley. Oh, it must be! It is! Peter Withe!”