Top Five: Premier League defensive partnerships - featuring Manchester United, Arsenal legends

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Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United legends feature.

Today is Martin Keown’s birthday, as the Arsenal legend turns 49.

A true legend of the English game, he is rightly considered one of the best defenders in Premier League history, having won three titles with the Gunners.

A central part of Arsene Wenger’s rise to prominence with the North London club, he was the defensive lynchpin to the club, and was part of the Invincibles team of 2003/04 - although he did not feature much.

Keown is one of the true Premier League greats, but he is not only in that category. A number of great teams have enjoyed fantastic defensive partnerships on their paths to success, and we take a look at five of the best centre-back pairings to have featured in the Premier League.

Gary Pallister and Steve Bruce

The back-line which built Manchester United’s Premier League success, Pallister and Bruce were central to the rise of the club in English football. They were with the club prior to the start of the Premier League in 1992, and made over 600 appearances combined - with Bruce captaining the side as well.

Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic

Alex Ferguson’s second great defensive unit, comprised of Vidic and Ferdinand. Between them they set a Premier League record, going 1311 minutes - or 14 games - without conceding a goal. They were central to the Premier League and Champions League success of 2007/08, and were rightly lauded as the best partnership in world football at that point.

Tony Adams and Martin Keown

Keon’s own partner was Tony Adams, who helped the Gunners to the league title in 1998. They went on an eight game run without conceding a goal, and their simple, English style worked wonders with the attacking threat ahead of them.

Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure

The Invincibles side has to be included, with the pair of Campbell and Toure vital to Arsenal going the entire league season undefeated. They were more important that Thierry Henry to the success, as when goals failed to flow for the Gunners, they kept up their run to ensure 0-0 draws were ground out.

John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho

Arguably the best partnership the Premier League has ever seen, Terry and Carvalho combined to create the perfect back-line. The conceded just 15 goals in the 2004/05 season, as Chelsea won the title, and that record is unlikely to be beaten any time soon. 25 clean sheets and 29 wins that campaign are also records, and as top scorer Frank Lampard only netted 13 goals, the impressive defensive work was central to the success.

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