In bygone years there has been many a magnificent wing combination. The link between the full-back and the winger became more than just the occasional covering and tracking back that is the duty of the winger, but also gathered momentum on an attacking scale.
It is an interesting dynamic of course, as essentially a winger’s job is to be the bane of the full-backs existence. The full-back meanwhile has a primary objective of nullifying winger’s threats so on opposite teams the partnership would be a rivalry.
However many a partnership has flourished in the Premier League era, of course the most high profile of these was the link between David Beckham and Gary Neville that bordered on telepathic at times.
However in the Premier League at the moment there are not many wing partnerships that can rival that of Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar at Everton. Perhaps that old clichéd argument of wingers and full-backs being mortal enemies is apparent here. Pienaar, by trade, is not a winger; raised in the Ajax academy as a central midfield player a postion he continued at Dortmund until Moyes transformed him, like he did with Mikel Arteta into a wide man.
The other thing the two have going for them is simply Leighton Baines unflagging energy and enthusiasm. He constantly overlaps the South African either hugging the touchline or marauding inside and going between the opposing full-back and centre-half.
Pienaar’s natural right footed dexterity also gives them a different dimension to the usual wing-play-dynamic in the Premier League.
The two seem to be capable of tearing apart any of the Premier League’s defences and with Leighton Baines’s incredible end product the two are bizarrely similar to David Beckham and Gary Neville in the way they link up.
As I run through the list of the Premier League teams it is hard to find a better example of this dynamic. Ramires and Ivanovic link up well but do not play together often enough at Chelsea to rival the continually magnificent Pienaar and Baines.
When Everton’s season comes to an end this season success may be judged on whether there is silverware in Moyes cabinet.
The FA Cup is the most likely route to this success and after good form in the competition since that horror defeat to Shrewsbury ‘Rooney Moon’s’ ago the combination of the England international and recently retired South African captain will play a massive role if Moyes is to finally fulfil his dream at Goodison.
What do you think? Are Baines and Pienaar the best wide combination in the league?
image: © ericthefish