Arsenal legend worried break came at wrong time for Gunners

Ray Parlour believes Arsenal’s title clash against Manchester City has ‘come at a bad time’ for the Gunners in their first match after the international break.

Mikel Arteta’s men head to the Etihad today to face Pep Guardiola’s City in a title race punch-up, with both sides facing numerous injury doubts from the international period.

Speaking on behalf of NetBet Sports Betting, former Gunners defender Parlour, who won three Premier League titles during his time in north London, acknowledged the circumstances surrounding this fixture have not been ideal for Arteta’s side, but has urged his old side to suck it up and get the job done.

“It’s not ideal [playing after such a long break], we know that,” Parlour said. “It’s probably come at a bad time for Arsenal, they probably needed to keep playing but that’s football, no one can judge that.

“You’ve just got to get on with it. It’s a massive game from Arsenal’s point of view. Going to the Etihad is always difficult with the players they [Man City] have, but they’ve just got to go there and believe they can do it.

“I still think City are the ones to beat for me, but Liverpool, Arsenal will be very, very close. I think this [title race] will go down to the last couple of games.”

Parlour also reflected on the English wingers from both sides, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka, with both players having outstanding campaigns for their respective clubs.

Saka is Arsenal’s top scorer this campaign with 13 league goals along with eight assists, with Foden amassing 11 goals and seven assists.

Whilst admitting neither are of world-class stature yet, the 51-year-old believes the City winger is close to a similar ‘undroppable’ status held by his Gunners counterpart.

“He’s [Foden] on his way to be it. It’s a big thing to say, world class. He’s such a good player to watch, and he’s been learning off so many good midfielders over the years.

“They [Man City] looked after him as a youngster and now they’re really getting the bonuses of him playing well every week.

“Saka is a great player as well. I’m sure he’ll be world class very soon, and people around the world are saying these two youngsters are unbelievable.

“That just shows how important he is to the team and Mikel Arteta can’t really leave him out.

“If he’s fit, they’ve got to play him, and Foden is getting to that status now at Man City which he probably didn’t have a couple of seasons ago.”

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