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Friday, 12 April, 2002, 07:53 GMT 08:53 UK
Partners in crime
BBC Sport Online's Stuart Roach talks to former Chelsea strikers Kerry Dixon and David Speedie about the prolific Blues partnership of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen.
As Chelsea plot the downfall of West London rivals Fulham in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final, they will be banking on the theory that two heads are better than one.
Claudio Ranieri's Blues are overwhelming favourites to win through to the 4 May Millennium Stadium final.
And that is in no small way down to the efforts of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Eidur Gudjohnsen, who are striking up quite a partnership for Chelsea.
The pair have more than 50 goals between them in all competitions this season and have formed an almost telepathic relationship.
And their dynamic strike play may bring back some happy memories of the Kerry Dixon-David Speedie partnership that lit up Stamford Bridge in the 1980s.
While Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen's relationship is still in its butterflies-in-the-stomach early romance stages, Dixon and Speedie are like an old married couple flicking through the family scrapbook.
But their partnership was hardly a match made in heaven.
The pair struggled to gel when John Neal brought them together, Dixon arriving from Reading and Speedie from Doncaster.
But the partnership suddenly clicked after a dramatic dressing-room bust-up following a First Division match against Manchester City.
"We had a fight and it settled things down," admits Dixon.
"It cleared the air and sometimes that is what it takes. I'm not saying that is necessary for Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen, though - they seem to be improving all the time as a partnership," added Dixon, who still commentates on the club for television and radio.
Speedie has similar memories of the fight with Dixon acting as a turning point in their partnership.
"We had a barney after the City game and John Neal hauled us in to sort it out," Speedie explains.
"He told us we both had our ways of doing things and that we were both passionate about our game. But we had to learn to live with each other's strengths and weaknesses.
"John told us we would be the best in the country if we sorted our differences out and I believe, at that time, we were."
Like any good relationship, learning to live with each other's strengths and weaknesses appears to be the key to a happy household.
And both Dixon and Speedie believe the current Chelsea partnership can enjoy many years of happiness together.
"In the early part of the season, Gudjohnsen struggled for goals and Hasselbaink carried the burden, but the partnership has blossomed as the season has gone one," said Dixon.
"It is a good partnership and that is something that is crucial. The burden can't be on one man.
"Jimmy is always going to be the number one goalscorer, but Gudjohnsen plays well alongside him. He has great feet.
"With our partnership, Speedo was a good foil for me. He didn't get as many goals as he would have liked but he was a better all-round footballer than me and we fed off each other."
Speedie remembers the relationship in simpler terms.
"Kerry was a prolific striker and I was his fetcher and carrier," he recalls.
"Hasselbaink and Gudjohnsen have a similar partnership and they are a devastating pair, without a shadow of a doubt.
"They are both capable of scoring goals from anywhere. Jimmy has the fiercer shot but Gudjohnsen has the better all-round game."
The partnership, Speedie believes, will ultimately swing Sunday's semi-final Chelsea's way.
"I saw Chelsea beat Manchester United 3-0 at Old Trafford earlier in the season and they were outstanding in every department.
"If they did that week-in, week-out they could win the league, but Chelsea have too many stars doing it for themselves and not the team.
"In a one-off like Sunday though, one individual could win it. I think there will only be one goal in it, and that is where Gudjohnsen and Hasselbaink will swing it Chelsea's way."
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Links to more FA Cup stories are at the foot of the page.
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