Friday, December 8News That Matters

Ferdinand names his Premier League title favourites after Everton beat Arsenal

Rio Ferdinand believes Arsenal now face the test of their Premier League title credentials after slumping to a shock 1-0 defeat against Everton.

Arsenal were pressed relentlessly by players like Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi as they struggled to create chances and test Jordan Pickford.

Everton always carried a threat, meanwhile, mainly from set pieces and it was not a surprise when two of Dyche’s former Burnley players, Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski, combined to create the winning goal.

The Toffees survived some nervy moments late on but were well worth the win and the three points that lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Arsenal could see their lead at the top cut to two points if Manchester City win against Tottenham on Sunday, albeit the champions will have played a match more, but Ferdinand says they still hold the edge for the title race.

He told BT Sport: ‘Arsenal, we have been sitting here all of us believing they can win this league and I put them as favourites and I still put them as favourites and edge them slightly.

‘It’s a real psychological test for them now though, how do they handle this bump in the road? It’s a big learning curve for them.

‘I think they’ve come up against that type of low block quite often but the aggression I saw today teams haven’t been able to get close enough to Arsenal to play like this. They play so slick and play through teams.

‘These are the moments and times where you want your star man and game changer to turn up and produce and that can sometimes override the system.’

Mikel Arteta’s side entertain Brentford at the Emirates next Saturday and Ferdinand believes it’s important Arsenal find a way to grind out three points or risk surrendering the momentum they created during the first half of the campaign.

He added: ‘It’s important how you react. When we played you don;t lose two games on the spin. You’ve got to find results by any means you can’t always play perfect football.

‘There will be big long spells where it’s not going your way. Can you come out of those moments?

‘It’s going to be the experienced players even like Jorginho who has just come in to be with the youngsters when you’ve dropped points and let them know it’s not the end of the world.

‘You have to find positives in this performance to maintain that momentum and confidence.’

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