Responding to a question on whether the Arsenal squad has the requisite mentality to clinch the title, the ex-England international said: “I think they’re developing it for certain. To become champions for the first time you start to discover what you’re made of as you go through that journey.”
The arrival of Petr Cech has been lauded as a masterstroke by Arsene Wenger, and Keown feels the experienced keeper will be a vital asset to the Arsenal team, adding: “It helps that people like Petr Cech have come in, the players can lean on him to help get them over the winning line because he has walked the walk.”
This season’s title race is shaping up to be one of the most intensely fought in recent years, with no stand-out favourite emerging early on.
Each of the top-four contenders have elements of weakness in their squads - from worries over Diego Costa’s fitness, to Manchester City’s defensive uncertainties – but Keown feels Arsenal are in good shape as their Premier League opener looms.
He added: “They can start to draw strength from looking at the other teams this season.”
“Of course it’s about what you do, but there is a real feeling that this Arsenal squad is as strong as any other in the league."
On paper he is probably right. Arsenal have an abundance of attacking talent – although, perhaps still missing a world class centre-forward – and have improved greatly as a defensive unit, with Francis Coquelin one of the success stories of last season.
The stage is set for the Gunners to end more than a decade of hurt, but a certain Jose Mourinho, in particular, is sure to have other ideas.