Chelsea failed to take full advantage of Manchester City’s surprise defeat to Burnley at the weekend, with Jose Mourinho’s side held 1-1 at home by Southampton.
The Saints have proven this season that they are a hard-working and technically able side, with Ronald Koeman’s team unlucky not to leave Stamford Bridge with all three points.
Although it was an impressive collective performance from the South coast outfit, one man stood out however.
Morgan Schneiderlin’s considerable qualities are not a secret, but the French midfielder reminded the footballing world of why he is so highly rated by Southampton with a fantastic personal performance in West London.
The 25-year-old put in a talismanic showing and was a leader for the visiting side.
The France international was up against arguably the best defensive midfielder in the division, Nemanja Matic, but outplayed the Serbian enforcer.
Schneiderlin won ten tackles in the clash, while also intercepting Blues possession on nine occasions.
His hard work, positional discipline and sheer guts were key to the Saints winning the midfield battle and inhibiting Chelsea’s attacking stars as a result.
Meanwhile, in possession Schneiderlin looked assured, with the bulk of Southampton’s passing style going through the critical midfielder.
Schneiderlin’s future has been a real point of debate over the last 12 months, with the Frenchman widely expected to join team-mates in a St Mary’s exodus last summer.
However, despite allowing the likes of Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana to` leave the club, Southampton refused to budge on their midfield general and insisted he was not for sale.
This stubborn approach has failed to end the speculation, with North London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham both heavily linked with a move for Schneiderlin at the end of the current campaign.
Although Koeman’s men will surely try to rebuff any potential approaches, the French star seems like the perfect addition for the Gunners.
Although the rise of Francis Coquelin has been notable this season, Schneiderlin offers something more going forward and would be the ideal box-to-box partner for the current incumbent in Arsenal’s midfield.
The 25-year-old has the energy and desire to help Arsene Wenger’s men finally cast aside accusations of being too lightweight and a pushover in the boiler room, with a combination between Schneiderlin and Coquelin is an enticing proposition.
The Southampton man’s presence would allow the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla much more freedom to get forward and provide Arsenal’s defence a fantastic two-man screen.
His range of passing and urgency when in possession would also be an additional string to Arsenal’s bow and make the Gunners a much more dangerous proposition.
It is with good reason that Arsenal are continuing to be linked with the Southampton star; his arrival at the Emirates Stadium this summer could well be the spark to see Wenger’s side put forward a title challenge next season.