Rio Ferdinand says he'd rather face Mahrez than Arsenal's Bukayo Saka
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Rio Ferdinand says he'd rather face Mahrez than Arsenal's Bukayo Saka

Rio Ferdinand has told his YouTube channel that he would rather try and defend up against Riyad Mahrez than Bukayo Saka of Arsenal, simply due to the England international’s sheer pace.

Arsenal are flying right now. They lead the way in the Premier League by five points. And it appears that Mikel Arteta’s men are going absolutely nowhere, having only lost once in the top-flight all season.

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They really are back amongst the heavyweights. And Saka has been absolutely pivotal to their form, scoring six goals and contributing six assists in the top-flight. He also scored three times at the World Cup.

Ferdinand compares Saka and Mahrez

Of course, the team Arsenal are jostling with at the top of the table know exactly what it takes to compete in and win a title race.

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And Mahrez has been crucial to their success, winning three titles with City, as well as one with Leicester before his £60 million move. In his time with the Cityzens, he has scored 71 goals and contributed 48 assists in 211 games in all competitions.

The 31-year-old has undoubtedly been one of the great Premier League players of the last decade. Nevertheless, Ferdinand suggested that he would rather come up against the Algerian.

“If I had to play against one or the other, I’d rather play against Mahrez over Saka, because [of] Saka’s pace,” he told his YouTube channel.

“For me as a defender if I was going to play full-back, he’d want to go by you all the time. He’s a threat always to go behind you, whereas Mahrez takes little breathers in games. Listen, Mahrez is nuts. In terms of take-ons either way, he’s one of the most efficient and effective.”

Arsenal star could catch up with Manchester City man

The fact that Saka and Mahrez are in the same conversation says everything about how quickly the Arsenal man has developed.

He has been superb throughout his time in the Gunners first-team. And now that Arteta has built an impressive team around him, he has continued to kick on.

Saka has got some way to go before he is rivalling Mahrez’s numbers. But there is 10 years between the pair. So if he remains in the Premier League, there is every chance that he will overtake him at some stage.

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