Ray Parlour hopes Arsenal can push favourites Chelsea in title race
Former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour believes Chelsea will be the team to catch in the Premier League title race
Ray Parlour believes Chelsea will start the season as favourites to win the Premier League, but he is optimistic Arsenal can push the champions all the way in the title race.
Chelsea finished 12 points ahead of third-placed Arsenal last term but Arsene Wenger has attempted to address the divide by signing Blues legend Petr Cech to provide increased competition for the number one spot at The Emirates.
I’m just hoping Arsenal can be there or thereabouts with two or three games to go and make it a great finale
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal, meanwhile, has been one of the busiest Premier League bosses this summer after recruiting Memphis Depay, Bastien Schweinsteiger, Matteo Darmian and Morgan Schneiderlin.
While Parlour is discounting Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur from the title race, the three-time Premier League winner is quietly confident that Arsenal can finally launch a sustained push for their first top-flight crown since 2004.
“I see it [the title race] as competitive as ever. The bookies don’t get it wrong too often,” said Parlour, speaking on behalf of Carlsberg, the Official Beer of the Premier League.
“I can see Chelsea as favourites again, with great players and winners in their side.
“Manchester City are the second favourites and they are probably going to go and buy another two or three players.
“I’m hoping Arsenal can improve again – Petr Cech could be the missing link, who knows?”
Liverpool’s objective is probably to get back into the top four, Spurs as well
Parlour added: “Obviously Manchester United are buying players. Louis van Gaal now knows that he needs new players in. I can see why he brought in those two central midfield players straight away – the spine of the team is going to be important.
“Whether they still need a centre-half or they move Daley Blind into the back four remains to be seen.”
Parlour, who was a member of Wenger’s Invincibles squad, continued: “It’s going to be a great season. I’m just hoping Arsenal can be there or thereabouts with two or three games to go and make it a great finale to another great season.”
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has taken steps to address his side’s disappointing 2013-14 campaign after he snapped up James Milner, Adam Bogdan and Danny Ings on free transfers.
The Reds also signed Roberto Firmino in a £29m deal from Hoffenheim and Southampton right-back Nathaniel Clyne.
Despite the new additions, Parlour reckons a fourth-place finish is a more realistic target for the 18-time English champions.
“Liverpool have gone out and bought players,” Parlour added.
“I think they knew that Raheem Sterling would move on and they’ve tried to buy players quickly. Their objective is probably to get back into the top four, Spurs as well.”
Ray Parlour and the Carlsberg Fan Squad are all about making football better for fans. That means making sure stadiums are filled with real supporters in the 2015-16 season. Follow @CarlsbergFooty to find out how you can win tickets from the Official Beer of the Premier League