GALLERY: Let's give the great midfield pairings their moment in the sun

Emmanuel Petit spoke to Off The Ball's Joe Molloy about Vieira

Arsenal, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira (left) and Emmanuel Petit pose with the FA Cup, won at Wembley yesterday, as the team take a tour from the Highbury ground to Islington Town Hall today (Sunday) to celebrate their league and cup double. Photo by John Stillwell/PA

If you missed Off The Ball's intimate chat with Arsenal and France great Emmanuel Petit, it's well worth a listen given the depth and range of topics the former midfielder was willing to touch upon with Joe Molloy.

One of the areas Petit discussed was that famed midfield partnership he enjoyed with Patrick Vieira at the start of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal tenure.

The duo were a key cog in a team that went on to win the Premier League and FA Cup double in 1997-98.

Speaking of why he and Vieira thrived together with Joe, Petit commented: "First, we like very much each other as people. I think it's very important. We knew each other before we played together at Arsenal and I think we were, like I said, a piece of coin. He was taller than me, he loved running with the ball at his feet, me I love to play long ball or short passes to try and break the lines".

So, now let's look back at some of the midfield pairings that still get talked about.



FC Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, left, reacts after scoring with his teammate Xavi Hernandez, second right, against Viktoria Plzen during a Group H Champions league soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

Nearly always part of a midfield three, however their technically advanced and metronomic interchanges in front of the equally crucial Sergio Busquets underpinned both Barcelona and Spain's possession-centric success. Hence the Xaviesta nickname as both players fed off each other.

Bremner and Giles

Leeds United captain Billy Bremner (r) during training with coach Les Cocker (l) and Johnny Giles (c). Picture by: PA / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Ireland legend John Giles has regularly spoken about his midfield partnership with late former Leeds captain Billy Bremner in the 1960s and '70s as Don Revie's side won trophies and reached numerous finals.

 Scholes and Keane

Manchester United's Paul Scholes celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Leeds with Roy Keane. Picture by: Matthew Ashton / EMPICS Sport

While formations might have shifted as time went on, one of the key periods of success at Manchester United saw Paul Scholes and Roy Keane create a fruitful tandem. Unfortunately, both were suspended for the 1999 Champions League final.

As Scholes told Off The Ball of his on-field relationship with Keane last year, "It was very natural and not much communication on or off the field, really. There was never a need to be. He was somebody you could rely on next to you."

 Stiles and Charlton

(L-R) Exhausted England players Bobby Charlton and Nobby Stiles after the 1966 World Cup final. Picture by: PA Photos / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Bobby Charlton delivered the goals from midfield, while Nobby Stiles put a shift in the engine room in a productive pairing at Manchester United in the 1960s.