Mikel Arteta can become one of the Premier League managerial greats if his Arsenal side follow a win at West Ham this weekend by going on to win a first top-flight title in 20 years, says Gunners legend Ray Parlour.
The Spanish coach took his side to the brink of success last season but were ultimately overtaken by the unstoppable force of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola’s serial trophy winners, as they finished runners-up.
Only Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp has managed to rival Guardiola for the most coveted domestic league trophy in world football in recent years.
Arsenal Invincible Ray Parlour, a three-time title winner and club record Premier League appearance holder for the north London side, reckons City are the team to stop again, but believes Arteta has the potential to join the greats of the game.
The former England midfielder man and ambassador for sport.netbet.co.uk, explained his theory in an exclusive HaytersTV interview ahead of Arsenal’s must-win London derby at West Ham.
“Mikel has a long way to go,” Parlour acknowledged, “but Arsenal are giving him the tools to compete at the top level, with the elite managers in club football.
“What Arteta has done up to now is excellent, but to be elite you must win big titles and Arsenal are pushing as hard as ever to deliver them. He needs to stay for a good few years and keep building with this young squad and you never know.”
Arsenal included a home defeat to West Ham in a dismal December run which seemed to rule them out of this season’s title race. They have since bounced back into contention with ten goals over three successive wins, including the comprehensive defeat of Klopp’s red-hot league leaders last time out.
Now Arteta must beat managerial mentor David Moyes, the man he starred under in Everton’s midfield, to ensure his side remain in the conversation for silverware.
After all, it was only last season when Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead to Moyes’ men that helped City in the title race
Parlour added: “I was at the match last year, at the London Stadium, and Arsenal were cruising two-nil up and suddenly they conceded just before half-time and West Ham ended up getting back into it and getting a draw.Embed from Getty Images
“They have got to start how they did last year. They’ve got to learn from the mistakes, what happened and how it went wrong.
“It’s a big, big game again, a London derby. Everyone picks their games up. I’m looking forward to seeing what the atmosphere is like over there. West Ham are having a decent season.
“I hope it changes for Arsenal this weekend as all the hard work against Liverpool would have gone to waste. I feel Arsenal will be well up for Sunday and making amends for previous performances against West Ham. Arsenal must close out the game should they get ahead and this time, be clinical in front of goal. Arsenal are in the race this year on both domestic and European fronts, so let’s see what happens.”
Parlour concluded by risking his reputation with a precise scoreline prediction for the big match of the weekend. “I’ll say an Arsenal win,” he said. “They’re going to be buzzing after that win against Liverpool. I’m going to go for a clean sheet too. I’ll go for two-nil to Arsenal.”