Keown: Key Southampton duo remind me of these two Arsenal greats

St Marys Southampton

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown speaks very highly of Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama.

Martin Keown has told BBC programme Match of the Day 2 that Southampton's defensive midfielders Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin remind him of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit.

Keown played with Vieira and Petit, widely regarded as two of the best midfielders the Premier League has ever seen, during his playing career at Arsenal, and for the Southampton pair to be drawing such comparisons is testament to their ability.

The Saints have formed their success this season on their defensive solidarity, and the protection that Wanyama and Schneiderlin have given the team is a major reason why they have been so difficult to break down.

Southampton's central midfield partnership was in fine form against Chelsea this weekend, as the Saints claimed a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge, and Keown was keen to praise them both in his analysis after the match. 

"Wanyama and Schneiderlin, I'm going to give them really high praise as they remind me of [Patrick] Vieira and Emmanuel Petit," he said. "They're just like two buttresses in that midfield. It's a wall in-front of that defence. 

"They identify danger, they deal with it and they stop anything that is going to get to that defence. It is really difficult to get round them."

The task for Southampton will be keeping hold of both Wanyama and Schneiderlin in the summer, as interest in both is sure to be high.

The Saints were victims of their own success last summer - when a number of their key players departed - and they will be desperate to avoid a repeat this time around.

Southampton have proven they are capable of buying impressive replacements for central figures in their squad, but losing either of Schneiderlin or Wanyama would be a tough blow for his side to take.

Manager Ronald Koeman will be desperate to guide the side to a European spot to give the Southampton bosses a better chance of convincing the pair to stay for the long term. 

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