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Rio Ferdinand Doubles Down On United v Arsenal Hot Take

Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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It's been a difficult few days for fans of both Arsenal and Manchester United.

For the Gunners, a dramatic 3-3 draw at home against 20th-placed Southampton may have been one of the most entertaining Premier League games of the season - but it also pushed Arsenal further away from their dream of sealing a first title in 19 years.

Meanwhile, a dour 3-0 defeat in Seville dumped Manchester United out of the Europa League, ending their dreams of a "cup treble" in Erik Ten Hag's first season in charge.

Though Arsenal remain on course to finish at worst second in the Premier League, it will be a suckerpunch if they do end up as runners-up given their residency at the top of the table all season long. Now, with Manchester City breathing down their necks, it looks unlikely that they will take home the big prize.

Speaking on BT Sport ahead of the rest of the weekend's action, Rio Ferdinand doubled down on his belief that, if Arsenal do finish second, they will have had an inferior season to Ferdinand's former club of Manchester United.

Rio Ferdinand argues Manchester United have had better season than Arsenal

Not much was expected of either Arsenal or Manchester United this season, and it's fair to say both have exceeded all pundits' expectations.


For United, the first season under Erik Ten Hag saw them claim their first trophy in six years in February, with the Carabao Cup final bringing a 2-0 win over Newcastle United. Despite some bumps along the way, they look set to clinch Champions League football, with six points and a game in hand between them and fifth-placed Spurs. They also remain in contention for the FA Cup.


They should seal third place in the Premier League table and, speaking on BT Sport on Saturday, Rio Ferdinand said that third place and a trophy would mark a better season than Arsenal's likely trophyless runners-up season.

A bemused Jermaine Jenas did not seem to agree with the ex-Manchester United defender, but Ferdinand explained his reasoning:

Man United - if they finish third and they've won the Carabao Cup - they would have had a better season than Arsenal right now without a trophy.

My point is 'who's happiest?'

When you retire and someone goes, 'oh, what a season that was!' They're not going to say that about finishing second. I don't remember what year I finished second. I remember what year I won something - whether it be the Carabao Cup, whether it be the Champions League or Premier League. You don't remember finishing second, third, or fourth. It's irrelevant.

If you're aspiring to win and be champions, that's what Arsenal are now, they're trying to transition from a club that is hoping to get Champions League football to trying to win silverware. If they keep thinking, 'oh, second's great!' then they will stay there, and keep finishing second.

It's hard to go in on Arsenal for their late-season slip in form, given how impressive a step up Mikel Arteta's men have made this season.

Nonetheless, games like Friday night's are the kind that a team simply cannot afford in a title run-in against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City.

United will have a shot at continuing their FA Cup run and charging towards a second trophy when they face Brighton in Sunday's semi-final at Wembley. Meanwhile, for Arsenal, their next game sees them travel to none other than Manchester City on Wednesday night, in a game that Arteta's men simply have to win.

SEE ALSO: Intriguing FA Cup Parallels Between City's Treble March And 1999

FA Cup Manchester City Manchester United


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