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Rio Ferdinand Quick To Bring Up Martin Keown's Dubious Arsenal Claim After Man City Humbling

Rio Ferdinand Quick To Bring Up Martin Keown's Dubious Arsenal Claim After Man City Humbling
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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Is that a wrap? Manchester City have taken a huge step towards retaining their Premier League title this evening, producing a thoroughly convincing 4-1 victory over Arsenal at the Etihad.

From the first minute of the game, it was clear that there was only going to be one winner. Pep Guardiola's side were utterly dominant in every aspect of the contest, looking far more dangerous both in terms of possession and chances created.

It took them only six minutes to open the scoring, with Erling Haaland playing in Kevin De Bruyne before the Belgian finished brilliantly.

They would lead 2-0 at the break thanks to a goal from John Stones, although the margin could have been much larger were it not for a number of scuppered chances from City.


The result was put beyond all doubt eight minutes into the second half when De Bruyne scored his second of the game.

Rob Holding scored a consolation for Arsenal in the final ten minutes, before Erling Haaland put some extra emphasis on the final result in injury time.

In truth, the final scoreline probably flattered the visitors, who could have shipped a much heavier defeat.


This leaves Manchester City in a hugely promising position in the league table. While they still sit two points behind Arsenal, they have two games in hand and look like massive favourites to go and lift the title.

Rio Ferdinand questions Martin Keown on Arsenal claim


This result all but ended Arsenal's title charge, a matter of weeks after looking like heavy favourites to win the league for the first time since 2004. Since then, they have failed to win in each of their last four league fixtures.

Tonight's game certainly displayed the gulf in class between themselves and City, who blew them away from the first whistle.


While still a young team that could improve further, you get the sense that this season could be a blown opportunity for Arsenal. Manchester City are only likely to improve in the next few seasons, while Manchester United, Liverpool, Newcastle United, and Chelsea will also be hoping to launch title challenges over the next couple of years.

As a result, you could say that Arsenal's best chance to lift the trophy has now passed them by.

Speaking on BT Sport before the game, Martin Keown made the rather dubious claim that this group of players must now be viewed as 'winners' irregardless of how the remainder of the season players out. It was something that Rio Ferdinand did not agree with.



Keown: The manager, what he has done, he has reinforced the old culture that we used to have, a winning culture. These guys are winners now. Things have changed.

Ferdinand: How are they winners now? They've not won anything.

Keown: Look at the amount of games they've won, these players have changed enormously. These players were a soft touch, they weren't physical enough. Now when you come up against them, you're in a game fella. You've got to go and beat them.

Ferdinand: I wouldn't be coming up against them saying 'these guys are winners', they've not won anything yet.

Keown: The culture has changed...

Ferdinand: I think the culture is changing and Arteta has done remarkably well with that, but to go as far and say they are a winning team, that's too far for now. They've got an opportunity to change that this season by winning the Premier League, but they've got to do that to become a winning team.

Of course, their performance over the course of the 90 minutes at the Etihad showed that they still have a very long way to go to be considered as 'winners'. It looks very likely that they will end this campaign without a trophy, and considering the pending challengers identified above, there are no guarantees that they will build any sort of medal haul in the seasons ahead.

Keown's comments certainly look wide of the mark at the moment, something Ferdinand was keen to bring up to him in the post-match analysis.

Keown: Of course (he expected more from Arsenal), this is the acid test when you play Man City now. Haaland and De Bruyne are on another level. When the big games come around, those players have really performed at a high level.

They're used to winning things here at City. With Arsenal, you could see a huge gap between the two clubs. Arsenal are probably about ten years behind them, but Arsenal are on the way back. Obviously tonight was extremely disappointing.

You look at the Arsenal back line, that is 11 goals conceded in the last four games. The title opportunity has slipped away because they haven't been able to defend well enough...

Ferdinand: Martin, you said before that you thought this Arsenal team would emerge into a winning team. Do you still think that after today?

Keown: I do. They're putting the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle (together), but it's still a really long way to go for Arsenal...

I just think when [William] Saliba isn't around, there's a massive gap between the two teams.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal do turn into a winning team, but it is clear that they are not that in their current guise.

Tonight's non-performance provided irrefutable evidence of that.

SEE ALSO: Stats Show Gavin Bazunu Wasted Remarkable Amount Of Time During Arsenal Draw

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