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'What have they won?' - Ferdinand hits back at Keown's Arsenal "winners" claim ahead of Man City clash

'What have they won?' - Ferdinand hits back at Keown's Arsenal "winners" claim ahead of Man City clash

Man City host title rivals Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday night.

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand hit back at Martin Keown’s claim that the Arsenal squad were “winners”.

Arsenal travel to the Etihad five points clear of Manchester City at the Premier League summit, though having played two more games.

And after three successive draws, the Gunners will likely need to claim a win against Pep Guardiola's men if they are to go on and claim their first Premier League title in 19 years.

It looks a tall order for Mikel Arteta's side. The north Londoners’ record against City has been woeful in recent times. Arsenal have lost seven straight games to the Manchester club, and 14 of their last 15. Indeed, in the last six years, their only positive result against City was a 2-0 FA Cup final win in July 2020.

Whatever happens, Arsenal have dazzled this season. Yet, before kick off Ferdinand and Keown came to blows over whether the table toppers could be labelled "winners".

Keown clashes with Ferdinand

Keown was lauding Mikel Arteta for changing the atmosphere around the Emirates ahead of kick off.

The former Arsenal defender said on BT Sport: "I think the manager, what he's done is reinforce the old culture that we used to have. These guys are winners now. Things have changed."

However Ferdinand interjected to stress they had not yet claimed any silverware.

Interrupting Keown, Ferdinand said: "How are they winners? They've not won anything."

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Keown hit back to say: "No, no. Look at the number of games they've won. The reputation for these players has changed enormously. They were a soft touch.

"The players were not physical enough. When you play Arsenal now you're in a game fella. You're going to have to work to beat them."

Ferdinand doubled down, however. The former United centre-back said: "I wouldn't go up against this lot and say 'they're winners'".

Keown responded: "They've come a long way. They've come a hell of a long way. This time last year we were beaten to fourth place by Spurs, and the team didn't really have the ingredients. I'd say it's there now.

"I think [William] Saliba not being around has really affected them. This is a small squad. He's made 30 changes this season, Pep's made 77!

"He's got a huge squad. There's an enormity of central defenders for him to choose from. Arsenal haven't got the luxury."

Ferdinand then clarified his position, to say: "I think the culture is changing and I think he's done remarkably well with that, Arteta.

"But to go as far as to say they're a winning team - I think that's a stretch too far right now. They have a great opportunity to embed that by winning this season the Premier League, but they're got to do that to become a team that other teams look at and go, 'they're the team to beat'. City are the team to beat now."

Featured Image Credit: BT Sport

Topics: Arsenal, Football, Manchester City, Premier League, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown