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That little triangle is going to be key

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes William Saliba, Gabriel Magalhaes, and Declan Rice put Arsenal in a better position than Liverpool in the Premier League title race.

The Gunners went to the top of the league on Saturday (November 25) after beating Brentford 1-0 at the Gtech Community Stadium. Kai Havertz’s 89th-minute goal helped them leapfrog Manchester City and Liverpool, who played out a draw in their clash earlier in the day.

With a clean sheet against the Bees, Arsenal now have the best defensive record in the league after 13 games. They have kept six clean sheets and conceded just 10 goals. The defensive pairing of Saliba and Gabriel has been excellent alongside new signing Rice’s presence in midfield.

After the Gunners’ win over Brentford, Ferdinand heaped praise on the trio, telling TNT Sports (via Mirror):

“Me and Crouchy [Peter Crouch] were sitting here thinking about how good these two are, they want to be aggressive, they want to defend with that high line.

“They have the best defensive record in the league at the moment and Declan Rice is perfect in front of them in the middle at the moment. That little triangle is going to be key for them going forward and it’s how they’re going to be successful.”

Ferdinand lauded Arsenal’s high line against Brentford’s pacy attackers, saying:

“In today’s game having pace is how you get ahead of the other teams, especially at the back. It means you can play that high line and for the last two seasons, Brentford’s attack has given teams so many problems.

“Toney, Wissa and Mbeumo, they’ve all given teams nightmares because of their pace and aggressive run-ins. Today, one of them gets past Saliba – who is there to mop it up? Gabriel. He gives it back to Saliba and they work it out between them.”

Ferdinand concluded by saying that he puts the Gunners above Liverpool in the title race with Manchester City:

“To win anything, you have to have a centre-back pairing that you can trust. They’re the reason why I put them above Liverpool in the title race and they’re why they can challenge City this year.”

The north London side are currently one point above second-placed City and two above third-placed Reds.


What’s next for Arsenal and Liverpool?

Both sides have been two of the most in-form teams this season. Liverpool have lost just two out of their 19 games across competitions while the Gunners have lost three. They are in an excellent position in the Premier League title race and will now shift their focus to European commitments.

Arsenal will host RC Lens in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, November 29. The French side beat Arsenal 2-1 in the reverse fixture but the Gunners still lead their group by five points.

Liverpool, meanwhile, will host LASK in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. They beat the Austrian side 3-1 in the reverse fixture. The Reds lead their group and are two points above second-placed Toulouse.

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