Real Time Analytics

Ranking Europe’s Best Three-Man Forward Combos

Via FC Barcelona via Getty Images

The best teams in Europe can find goals from anywhere, but which ones can rely most on their front three?

In a sport where goals are what put fans in the seats, the best soccer teams stock their front lines with firepower.

As tactics develop and results dictate choices, there is no set amount of forwards on the pitch. However, three is the most likely amount, and three is what some of the most successful clubs in Europe use.

Often, they are used differently. Inverted wingers, true No. 9s, small mobile strikers, direct wingers and more make each front three just as unique as the next. For the teams that utilize the front three, here is how a few of the best stack up against each other.

1. Barcelona—MSN

There is minimal competition for the number one spot, as Barcelona’s front three are above and beyond everyone else by perhaps a mile. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar are the most formidable trio in the world, and, since syncing up in 2014, they have hardly stopped terrorizing defenses.

They have combined for over 300 goals, with both Suarez and Messi scoring over 100. There is a reason Barcelona won the treble then the double in the two full seasons they’ve played together. A lot of it stems from the goals supplied by the mercurial front three.

So far this season, the trio has played in a combined 49 games, and provided a total of 35 goals and 14 assists. Essentially, they contribute to at least one goal per game. Simply the best.

2. Real Madrid—BBC

The two best Spanish teams happen to both have fun acronyms to describe their front three. They also happen to both have the best frontmen in all of Europe. 

Though it has not been perfect for Los Blancos, especially with an injured Gareth Bale holding back the bunch, their front three of the Welshman, Karim Benzema, and of course Cristiano Ronaldo get the second spot on sheer talent alone.

Their numbers so far this season pale in comparison to their Clasico rival’s trident, but their position atop the table more than makes up for it. Still, a combined 22 goals and six assists in 39 games between them is no small output.

If you aren’t convinced by what they’re doing so far this season, just have a look at what Bale, Benzema, and Ronaldo did in La Liga last season.

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They combined for 86 total matches, scoring 78 goals and adding 28 assists for 106 goals created between them. That shatters the rate at which the Barcelona trident are currently doing it, but the sluggish first half for the Madrid front three pits them behind their bitter rivals.

3. Chelsea—Hazard, Costa, Pedro

All the talk revolves around Chelsea’s back three, but it is really their front three that deserves some praise. And, right now, no team is hotter than the Premier League leaders. Their defensive prowess is known, but in order to get three points, goals must be scored, and Antonio Conte’s men do that with aplomb.

Costa is atop the scoring charts for England’s top flight with 15 goals, while Hazard has nine and Pedro has chipped in five. They’ve also combined for 13 assists, putting their total at 42 goals created.

Though they seem to find the net more than Madrid’s front at the moment, they fall behind simply because of the talent on Madrid’s front line. The stats may not back it up right now, but they are the more potent front three, and it would not be surprising if their numbers end up higher by the season’s end.

However, take nothing away from Chelsea’s trio, as they’ll continue to quietly succeed while their defense gets all the praise.

Just Missed Out:

Liverpool: Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane

The Reds have a potent crew indeed, but their numbers of 22 combined goals and 12 combined assists do not match their Premier League rivals, thus narrowly eliminating them from this top three of front threes.

Dortmund: Marco Reus, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele

Aubameyang and Dembele have done their part to be on this list, but Reus has only mustered 300 minutes of Bundesliga play. They’d be on this list over Chelsea 10/10 times because of talent alone, but their output so far this season hurts.

Juventus: Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Juan Cuadrado

Higuain’s 14 goals gets this group off to a hot start, but just five from Dybala and zero from Cuadrado knock the Italian giants out. Cuadrado has four assists though, and Dybala is one of the world’s finest young talents. Juventus is rolling in Serie A right now, and their front three is a big part of that.

Edited by Jeremy Losak, Julian Boireau.

How many goals did Messi, Suarez and Neymar combine to score in the 2015/16 La Liga season?
Created 1/28/17
  1. 70
  2. 80
  3. 90
  4. 100

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