Rio Ferdinand thinks Man Utd now “a problem for Arsenal” after they beat Man City in the Manchester derby on Saturday.
Man Utd stunned the defending champions as they followed up a highly-contentious equaliser with a late winner to move within a point of their second-placed neighbours in the Premier League.
While arguments raged over the nature of Bruno Fernandes’ leveller – awarded despite Marcus Rashford’s run towards the ball from an offside position in the build-up – there was no denying the 2-1 win represented a strong statement from resurgent Man Utd.
Erik ten Hag’s men have been transformed since they were thrashed 6-3 by City at the Etihad Stadium in October, losing just one of 19 games and winning their last nine in succession in all competitions.
Arsenal, who play Tottenham in the north London derby today, are now within United’s sights with Ten Hag’s men six points adrift of the Premier League leaders.
And Ferdinand thinks Arsenal should be worried about Man Utd when Mikel Arteta’s side host the Red Devils next Sunday.
Ferdinand told his Vibe with Five YouTube channel: “I just think the way Manchester United play, we’re a problem for Arsenal. Today we were a problem for Man City too.
“I think Arsenal will have most of the ball but in the transitions, United are so dangerous. Even under Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] that was the case.
“But even more so now because we’re more structured and harder to break down. Man City didn’t have that many chances.
“There’s been a fragility with Manchester United in the last few seasons. Going 1-0 down against City, in past seasons you would have felt like walking out.
“But today they didn’t panic, they remained resilient and came back really well.”
Ferdinand picked out Luke Shaw, who was deployed at centre-back again by Ten Hag, as United’s man of the match against City.
“The man of the match for me was Luke Shaw. In the latter stages of the game, he was heading it away, intercepting passes, keeping calm.
“Everyone questioned him playing at centre-back but he’s basically saying: ‘I’ll play anywhere for you and give you 8/10 performances every week.’ He’s been great.”
After the game, Ten Hag picked out Rashford for special praise after he looked to be struggling with an injury at the end of the first half.
Ten Hag told BT Sport: “Players have to be resilient – you get kicked in a game and obviously it happens and it hurts. But you have to keep going to get the right result, and deal with that painful moment even if it keeps being painful.
“That’s what he did today and he gets rewarded for it, and the team gets rewarded for it. In top football you have to suffer and sacrifice to get the right result.
On United’s controversial first goal, Ten Hag added: “I can see that from the other side as well – of course it’s a confusing moment but when you follow the rules he didn’t touch the ball, he was not interfering and it’s a goal.
“We were happy at half-time but after half-time it changed, we were not proactive any more and just before I wanted to change it, they score. But then the spirit in the team is so huge, the belief is there that this game is 90 minutes, and we can fight back, and they believed they could turn it around.”
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