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Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Eden Hazard toughest players to mark, says Martin Keown

Sourav Saha
3.04K   //    10 Nov 2016, 15:39 IST
Martin Keown and Ruud Van Nistelrooy argue : News Photo
Martin Keown(R) was one of Arsenal’s top defenders

Former Arsenal defender, Martin Keown has stated that Alexis Sanchez, Philippe Coutinho and Eden Hazard are according to him the toughest players to mark in the Premier League. Writing for Daily Mail, the former England international, gave his opinion on the variety of attackers currently plying their trade in the Premier League.

Speaking at the launch of the latest enhancements to Europcar's Deliver & Collect service, Keown listed out “toughest opponents” in the current set up. He also spoke about various opponents that he had faced during his playing days.

Also read: EPL 2016/17: I wouldn't have Arsenal's Mesut Ozil anywhere near Chelsea, says former Chelsea defender Jason Cundy  

Keown listed out the top ten players, currently in the Premier League, whom he felt he would have a hard time defending against. When urged to speak about his playing days, he listed out the likes of Teddy Sheringham, Batistuta and club team-mates, Ian Wright and Thierry Henry.

He also described a young Anelka as being particularly difficult to defend against and also named Brazilian pair Ronaldo and Romario, as players gifted with natural rhythm and swagger in their game.

Hazard, Sanchez and Coutinho

The abovementioned trio have been central to their team’s fortunes this term. Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively, have benefitted from these silky skilled players, who have the ability to leave defenders devastated once they click into gear.

Taking the time to list out each individual’s qualities, the former Gunner began his list with current Gunner and Chilean forward, Alexis Sanchez. Keown described him as someone who “helps other forward players like Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott thrive.”

The former defender then took the time to compliment the Chilean on his technique and ability in front of goal. Keown appreciated the fact that the Chilean’s role off the ball has been instrumental in Arsenal’s overall display.

Taking his time to describe Hazard, Keown settled on the words “downhill slalom skier” to capture the Belgian’s style of play. In fact, Keown was quick to point out that Hazard’s direct running at defenders coupled with his ability to quickly change direction makes the Belgian very difficult to defend against.


Keown, in his heydey, dealt with forwards of a different pedigree and was hardly ever taken for a ride by the opposing forwards.

Also read: EPL 2016/17: Mesut Ozil can be like Dennis Bergkamp, says Arsene Wenger

The former Gunner then went on to describe Coutinho as a young Peter Beardsley. The Brazilian’s low centre of gravity enables him to make quick, sharp turns, according to the situation.

In fact, Keown highlighted how the Brazilian’s ability to shoot from distance and his comfort level in close dribbling, makes him a terror to mark. 

Keown also spoke about Harry Kane and Swedish star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic but chose to reserve his best compliments for the trio.

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