Arsenal

Rio Ferdinand follows Roy Keane into huge Arsenal title race U-turn after Man City defeat

Arsenal news as the Gunners see title chances swing in their favour again after shock defeat for Man City

Rio Ferdinand is backing Arsenal to take Manchester City all the way in a close title race once again this season after the pendulum took another swing in their favour on Wednesday night. Having already beaten Pep Guardiola’s men this year to establish authority in the league the Gunners have continued to win, creating a six point lead over the champions.

Although there are still 23 games to go and Mikel Arteta’s men held an even more commanding position at times during last season, the dip in form for City and the relentless nature of the results in north London has seen many reconsider their predictions. Arsenal once more snatched points late on when beating Luton on Tuesday night and were rewarded even more as their most serious challengers fell to defeat away to Aston Villa.

It leaves both Liverpool (34 points) and Villa (32 points) between Arsenal and City as front runners start to move away from the rest of the league. Tottenham in fifth are now nine points off the top but do have a game in hand. After the most recent round of matches and the way in which City were dominated by Unai Emery’s Villans, Ferdinand is being forced to somewhat back-track on his thoughts.

I don’t think they’ve actually got to the levels of last season yet, performance wise, and look where they are,” the Manchester United legend told his FIVE Youtube channel. “They aren’t even playing particularly well or as well as we’ve seen them consistently and they’re still top of the league. They’re a problem.”

Arsenal have continued to churn out results this term despite relying on goals after the 85th minute in four different matches to gain points. They were playing largely more expansive, attacking and exciting football at this stage last year but now appear to have a steel and edge about their game.

“If I’m City I’m looking at this and thinking, ‘they’re the real deal, this is going to the wire again, it’s going the full [distance]’,” Ferdinand continued. ” ‘We can’t afford to be dropping points at Villa the way we did because these guys look like they’re going to be relentless again.’

Liverpool could push themselves somewhere but I think they’re going to be a bit off. Arsenal, I said at the beginning of the season City will win the league, I’m not as convinced now. I still think they’ll win it but I would not be surprised if Arsenal go and win it.”

If he is stuck of the fence, then Roy Keane certainly isn’t. The Sky pundit himself has admitted he is starting to lean in the opposite direction. After Arsenal beat City in September he said: “I think it was probably the worst I have seen City play. They are having a difficult spell. It was a poor game.

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