Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Arsenal Are out of Title Race, Claims Ferdinand; No Chance: Rio Ferdinand (Left) Believes That Nicklas Bendtner and His Arsenal Team-Mates Will Not Win the League Title This Season

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Arsenal Are out of Title Race, Claims Ferdinand; No Chance: Rio Ferdinand (Left) Believes That Nicklas Bendtner and His Arsenal Team-Mates Will Not Win the League Title This Season

Article excerpt

Byline: David Barnes

RIO FERDINAND today insisted Arsenal will not win the Premier League this season, as Arsene Wenger admitted he still has concerns over former skipper William Gallas and Samir Nasri.

The Manchester United defender believes the eight-point gap between League leaders Liverpool and Arsenal will prove too wide and he is convinced the champions, Liverpool and Chelsea will now surge clear.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Club World Cup encounter with Gamba Osaka in Yokohama, Ferdinand said: "It is not beyond Arsenal but it is my personal opinion that it will be between the other three this season.

"At the moment it looks like being nip and tuck but usually from Christmas onwards the teams who are going to be there at the end start pulling away.

"I can see that happening this season.

I presume ourselves, Chelsea and Liverpool will pull away, then it will be down to two and finally one." Sir Alex Ferguson's side do not play another Premier League match until they take on Stoke on Boxing day.

That will put them two games behind Arsenal and the other title contenders but Ferdinand does not believe that is a concern.

Ferdinand added: "Last weekend we were disappointed, especially after our game, but when you look back on it you can take it that we came out of it better than anyone else because we drew away and the other teams drew at home." Wenger has a great record against the other big teams this season having already beaten Chelsea and United and he knows that Arsenal must beat Liverpool at Emirates Stadium on Sunday if Ferdinand is to be ultimately proved wrong.

But the Gunners boss has today expressed new reservations about defender Gallas the player he stripped of the captaincy and midfielder Nasri, his last major signing.

He said: "On the human level, what happened with William was the most difficult thing I have had to handle in my career because I have a lot of esteem for him. …

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