The draw extended United's winless league run to four games , having not picked up three points since beating Bournemouth at the start of November.
Since then, the Red Devils have lost in the Manchester derby, before recording three consecutive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and now Arsenal, leaving them eighth in the table on goal-difference.
"There is a big difference in class [between Manchester United and the Premier League top two] but it wasn't this game that showed us that, we knew that coming into this game because Liverpool and [Manchester] City, I think, are a cut above the rest in this league. Everyone else is in the chasing pack," Ferdinand said on BT Sport .
And despite his disappointment with the team's league position this season - United are behind Everton and Bournemouth and are one of just two teams in the top half of the league to record a negative goal-difference - Ferdinand believes the squad need to take the positives from the draw with the Gunners in order to improve.
He added: "Man United, they're in eighth at the moment and looking at the league table isn't a pretty sight at all, as a Man United fan, and the supporters won't be happy with that, but the players need to build on this, they started the game with some form of intensity, they got a decent result against a team that are in form - Arsenal. So that's something to build on.
"You've got to take the positives from somewhere and that's the job of the management to say: 'Right, there were certain things we can take positives from, then build on it.'"
United will hope to get back to winning ways when they host rock-bottom Fulham on Saturday, in Claudio Ranieri's third match in charge of the newly-promoted side.