Maurizio Sarri's men could have extended their lead over the Gunners to nine points with victory at the Emirates Stadium.
Instead, the current occupants of the all-important fourth Champions League spot saw their advantage cut to three as they went down 2-0 in a disappointing performance .
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring early on, before Laurent Koscielny hit the second with a deflected finish towards the end of half-time.
Chelsea's attacking deficiencies, meanwhile, were again exposed as they mustered a solitary shot on target at Bernd Leno over the 90 minutes.
Blues fans will be hoping the imminent arrival of Gonzalo Higuain bolsters the side on that front - but Ferdinand believes their woes start further down the pitch.
“Jorginho is someone who sets the tempo of the game. You get the ball to him through the middle third of the pitch, he’s very good,” he fired to BT Sport.
“How many assists has he got this season? Around 2000 passes, no assists.
“He’s not a great defender. Once again, in a game like this against a big team, he gets overrun in midfield.
“He can’t run.
“So, he doesn’t give you anything defensively, and he doesn’t give you anything at the other end of the pitch.”
Chelsea will have the chance to bounce back in two successive cup ties, as their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at home to Tottenham (where they will try to overturn a one-goal deficit) is followed by an FA Cup date against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Blues are back in action in the Premier League on January 30 away to Bournemouth, where with both Arsenal and Manchester United both breathing down their neck only win will be sufficient to keep their Champions League hopes on track.