Arsenal and Liverpool played out a very entertaining 0-0 draw on Monday night, though there was enough goal mouth action to have seen any number of goals.
Nobody would consider Coutinho and Benteke as a forward partnership in the conventional sense, but as the Reds created a very healthy twelve chances at The Emirates, I want to take a quick look at how the two attackers linked up in this game, and across the season so far.
We’ll start with Stoke (a game I analysed here), which saw just one chance created by the duo (with chance creating passes marked in light blue on the diagrams below).
Liverpool inevitably created far more as a team at home to Bournemouth in the next game (which I wrote about here), and that was clearly seen within this partnership as Benteke teed up Coutinho for four attempts at goal.
Another three chances created meant that the duo have fashioned eight goalscoring opportunities as a pair across three games, which is pretty impressive.
What is even more interesting is that Benteke has created six chances for Coutinho already; bear in mind here that only five Liverpool players set up more shots for the Brazilian in the whole of last season, and two of those only managed eight chances.
Notice also that neither of the two chances that Coutinho has sent Benteke’s way have been from crosses, but both from short passes in-or-around the penalty box. I wrote after the Stoke game that Benteke had been isolated, but at least Coutinho has been close enough to link up for chances with the former Villa man on several occasions.
It’s not a perfect partnership yet (as if such a thing exists of course), as Benteke should’ve played in Coutinho instead of shooting wastefully over the bar in the 73rd minute, as the Brazilian was in plenty of space to his left. But they certainly seem to be linking up well so far, so I’ll be very interested to see if this continues when I visit Anfield to watch the match with West Ham United on Saturday.