Rio writes off Gunners
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has written off Arsenal's title hopes, believing it will become a three-way battle between the defending champions, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Arsenal are eight points behind leaders Liverpool, seven adrift of Chelsea and two off United.
"I presume us, Chelsea and Liverpool will start pulling away a bit after Christmas," Ferdinand told BBC radio from Tokyo where United are competing in the Club World Cup of continental champions.
"It's not beyond them (Arsenal), it's just my personal opinion that it will be between us three this season."
Arsene Wenger's side are languishing in fifth place after surrendering the lead in a tame 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on Saturday.
At the same time, Aston Villa's 4-2 win over Bolton Wanderers took Martin O'Neill's side into fourth.
United, who drew 0-0 with Spurs last Saturday, will miss next weekend's round of Premier League matches, but Ferdinand said everyone would be keeping a close eye on what was happening.
"We'll be looking and seeing what's going on," he said.
"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.
"We can take some comfort from that but it would have been nice to have got the three points. We would have been sitting a lot prettier than we are now.
"It looks like teams will drop points. Hull going to Anfield and getting a draw is a massive result for them. Who would have said that before the season kicked off?
"West Ham getting a draw at Chelsea was a surprise as well. There have been quite a few unusual results this season but I am sure it is good for the fans."