Top five Premier League centre-back pairings

Following on from yesterday's centre-forward partnerships, Sports Mole picks out five of the best Premier League centre-back duos.

More often than not, the exploits of strikers and creative midfielders claim the headlines.

However, no team will be successful unless it is built upon solid foundations. Since its introduction back in 1992, the Premier League has been able to boast a large number of stubborn centre-back partnerships.

Yesterday, Sports Mole revealed our top five striker pairings, but today is the turn of the defenders. Below are the quintet that made the cut.

1. John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, Chelsea

When Chelsea supporters are asked who has been Jose Mourinho's best signing to date, many would probably select Didier Drogba. However, Portuguese centre-back Carvalho would run the Ivorian striker extremely close.

While some in England were unaware of his ability, Mourinho knew that his £20m signing would not be a risk, having worked together successfully in their homeland with Porto.

Carvalho would provide the beauty to Terry's brawn as the pairing forged a stubborn understanding that had never previously been seen in the Premier League. During the title success of 2004-05, Chelsea shipped just 15 goals, before they backed that up by letting in 22 the next season - that's 37 goals in 74 encounters.

As well as those two titles, they also won three FA Cups and a brace of League Cups together.

John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho celebrate Chelsea's win at Everton in April 2008.© Getty Images

2. Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister, Manchester United

Sir Alex Ferguson parted with a British record fee to land Pallister from Middlesbrough in 1989, but after a torrid debut outing against Norwich City, it appeared that the centre-back's career at Old Trafford was going to be short lived.

Slowly, though, the England international formed a formidable partnership with Steve Bruce, to the point that they helped guide United to their first league title in 26 years back in 1993.

They repeated that trick the following the season, as well as playing a part as the Red Devils won the FA Cup at the expense of Chelsea at Wembley.

Prior to those triumphs, the pair were also at the heart of the defence as United claimed the FA Cup in 1990, before winning the Cup Winners' Cup against Barcelona in Rotterdam a year later.

A collage of former Manchester United defenders Steve Bruce and Gary Pallister.© Getty Images

3. Sami Hyypia and Jamie Carragher, Liverpool

Hyypia arrived at Liverpool from Willem II in 1999 for £2.5m and left 10 years later with a host of honours, including a Champions League medal. What's more, he won the majority of it alongside Scouser Carragher, with whom he enjoyed an impressive partnership.

"When you take into account his transfer fee you'd have to say that pound for pound he is one of the club's greatest ever signings," Carragher said of his former teammate upon his departure. "I've always said the fact that Sami plays in defence has meant that he hasn't always been given the credit he deserves.

"He is definitely one of the best foreign players the Premier League has seen and he is arguably Liverpool's best ever foreign signing. I don't think you could use any other word for Sami other than legend."

Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyypia discuss tactics during Liverpool's Champions League match with Real Betis in September 2005.© Getty Images

4. Tony Adams and Steve Bould, Arsenal

Had Arsene Wenger not taken control of Arsenal, it is highly likely that Bould would not have still be playing at the highest level. By the time that the 1997-98 season came around, Bould was in his mid-30s, but the alterations that his manager had enforced towards training and diet ensured that he was still in a competitive condition.

His partner, Adams, was in his prime and between them they provided the cornerstone as the Gunners overturned an 11-point deficit to win the Premier League title ahead of Man United. Arsenal also claimed the FA Cup in the same campaign.

Having played alongside each other at Highbury since 1988, both Adams and Bould were heroes among the Arsenal faithful for their influence in the success of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thee roles that they played a few years later under Wenger, with the help of fellow defenders Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Martin Keown, rubber-stamped their standing.

Steve Bould congratulates Tony Adams during his testimonial match in May 2002.© Getty Images

5. Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, Manchester United

When the relationship between Bruce and Pallister was dismantled in 1996, Ferguson tried a large number of other options. However, for varying reasons, the likes of Jaap Stam, Henning Berg, Ronny Johnson and Laurent Blanc failed to nail down a permanent place in his team.

The Scot eventually landed on the solution in 2006 when Serbian defender Vidic arrived to partner Ferdinand, who had arrived at Old Trafford four years earlier.

Since then, United have won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and one Champions League.

In recent years injuries have hampered both, but when fit and available, the duo are frequently selected for the club's bigger matches.

Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand celebrates the latter's winning goal for Manchester United against Swansea City in May 2013.© Getty Images

Darren Fletcher loops a header into the net against Chelsea.
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