Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlor believes his former club will not have a better chance of winning the Premier League than this season.
The Gunners take on Manchester City on Wednesday night at the Etihad Stadium in a game that could ultimately decide who wins the title.
Mikel Arteta’s side have stumbled slightly in their quest for a first league championship since 2004, blowing a two-goal lead against Liverpool and West Ham before drawing 3-3 at home with Southampton despite a late recovery.
Part of the ‘Invincibles’ team that won the title almost 20 years ago without losing a game, Parlor feels Arsenal won’t have a better chance and fears teams like Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United will come back stronger next season.
He told the PA news agency: “Whatever happens this season, I’m happy with the way they played, but they won’t have a better chance of winning the league.
“We know Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, they will all be stronger next year, so now you are in a position to make history and the achievement will be up there with everything I have won.
“They were rare to win the league at the start of the season, so there is an opportunity and it doesn’t come too often that you have the opportunity to be in this position with seven or eight games to go. But no matter what, I still think a lot of progress has been made this year.”
Pep Guardiola’s City have won the league in four of the last five years and are aiming for three straight titles, sitting five points behind Arsenal with two games in hand.
Arsenal’s last win came in early April, 4-1 against Leeds, and City are breathing hard thanks to a run of six games without dropping points since February.
Parlor continued: “I thought the pressure would build, with seven or eight games it always does and I’ve been in those situations myself.
“This is why you love football, you never know what the season will bring for anyone and it’s been a roller coaster for everyone at Arsenal this season, now they just have to keep believing they can do it.
“(Wednesday’s game) won’t decide it, but it will be a great indicator of where the title will go this season.”
While Arsenal have seen progress, they are banking on the league title to win some sort of trophy this season.
The north London side were knocked out of the Europa League by Sporting Lisbon, after exiting the FA Cup and Carabao Cup against City and Brighton respectively earlier in the campaign.
Manchester United were crowned Carabao Cup champions with a win over Newcastle in February and if Arsenal miss out on the title, Parlor believes United will have had a better season.
Parlor said: “I think Manchester United will certainly have had the best season (if Arsenal don’t win the league). The trophies are the most important.
“It can be argued that the Champions League (qualifying) is very important for clubs because of the finances and the players you can attract to the club.
“But when I finished my career, I don’t look at it like, ‘Ooh, I came fourth eight years in a row,’ I say the number of trophies you’ve won and that’s what you’re proud of. On your honor roll, fourth place doesn’t count.”
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