Rio Ferdinand names favourite to win Premier League ahead of Arsenal v Man Utd

Rio Ferdinand says Arsenal’s players should not entertain thoughts of winning the Premier League despite being ‘favourites’ for the title.

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The Gunners boast a commanding lead at the top of the table and will regain their eight-point advantage over Manchester City if they beat Manchester United on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side only finished fifth last season but have won 15 of their 18 league games this term to pull clear of their domestic rivals.

‘Arsenal are the favourites for the title and rightly so, but if I was in that dressing room, I wouldn’t be talking about it,’ Ferdinand told William Hill.

‘Of course, it would flash up in your mind now and again, but there’s such a long way to go this season that they just need to take it game-by-game and they’ll be on the right path.

‘They look like a bunch of players that wouldn’t get too carried away and be focused on the title and neither does their manager, so if they can keep their feet on the ground and take it one game at a time, they’ll be there or thereabouts come the business end.’

Ferdinand believes Arsenal are benefiting from sticking with Arteta, who was under immense pressure earlier in his tenure.

He added: ‘Arsenal have been absolutely magnificent so far this season. They have been everything that Mikel Arteta wanted and probably more.

‘The club went through some tricky periods with the manager, but they stuck by him and they are getting the results now. 

‘He’s building a really really good squad that are hungry and buy into what Arteta wants, so it’s a very good time to be an Arsenal fan.

‘They are looking at top-quality players again and that calibre of player is looking at Arsenal with that little bit more respect than they did in recent times.

‘There’s big potential there, and while they haven’t won anything yet, there’s a lot of scope for them to be challenging for the big trophies.’

Ferdinand won six Premier League titles at Old Trafford and has played down talk of Manchester United challenging Manchester City and Arsenal for the title this season.

United moved to within one point of City after last weekend’s derby victory but dropped points earlier in the week, drawing 1-1 with Crystal Palace.

‘I never really saw Man United as title contenders,’ Ferdinand said. ‘We all get emotional as fans and can get a bit carried away in the moment, but in the cold light of day, United are in a really good place at the moment.

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‘If you said three or four months ago that United would be in this position, then there would have been few fans that wouldn’t have said “we’re on the right track here”, so let’s remain calm and just praise how far the side has come recently. 

‘I think top-four and a trophy would be a brilliant season for United and they are very much on track for that. They’ll be a few bumps along the road, but the results recently have been fantastic and they’ve just got to keep it up.’

Defending champions Manchester City, meanwhile, recovered from their Old Trafford setback by coming from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham 4-2 at the Etihad on Thursday.

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