Arsenal have become a soft touch under Arsene Wenger. Those are the thoughts of Manchester United legend turned pundit Rio Ferdinand.
He even dismissed Arsenal’s prospects of trophies this season and said the lack of a winning mentality is the reason the club’s best players leave.
A 2-0 win over Hull City didn’t help much as the game was marred with so many refereeing controversies.
Arsenal’s title challenge faded when they lost back-to-back games against Watford and Chelsea respectively. The Gunners last won the title under Wenger 13 years ago. Wenger is unpopular with some sections of supporters who want him to leave at the end of the season.
With questions growing over Wenger’s future and star names including Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil having not committed to new contracts, a period of change appears increasingly likely.
And recalling his playing days, Ferdinand thinks Arsenal were easier to play against as his career went on.
“When I first signed for Manchester United, the games against Arsenal were unbelievable,” Ferdinand said.
“When we went to Highbury and then the Emirates we would have to fight. Then from about 2007, whenever we went there our team talk revolved around outrunning them and overpowering them. They don’t want their feathers ruffled.
“Arsenal don’t like it if you’re aggressive and that’s the way we played against them.
“It’s been the same since we played them in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2008. That night we destroyed them, absolutely overpowered them.
“The days when you saw Patrick Vieira in the tunnel you knew that it was going to be a hard game. They had Vieira, Petit, Edu, Keown, Sol Campbell. Aggressive players ready to meet you on the front foot.”