Just when Arsenal fans thought that they could look forward to a successful 2014-15 Premier League campaign, comes a club legend to dampen the mood.
Former England international Ray Parlour believes that the Gunners should not read too much into their victory over Manchester City in the FA Community Shield, and does not consider Arsene Wenger’s side to be one of the top three favourites to win the league.
‘City were missing lots of players, they had maybe seven first-team players out of the side’, the former midfielder told talkSPORT. ‘Arsenal were excellent in the first half, they showed all the qualities they have, and Arsene Wenger will be delighted...
‘I still feel Arsenal need a couple more players. I think the bookies get it right a lot of the time. Man City, Chelsea and Man United, who are third favourites, are the three to beat probably.”
It will be hard to argue against Parlour’s opinion that Arsenal’s comprehensive win at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday does not give any indication as to how they will perform in the Premier League.
Just as the Gunners were missing their 2014 World Cup-winning trio of Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski, Premier League champions City were without a host of first-team regulars including star striker Sergio Aguero.
However, it will come as a surprise that Parlour, who won the Premier League three times and the FA Cup on four occasions during his time with the North London club, believes that Manchester United are stronger than Arsenal.
The Red Devils finished as low as seventh in the Premier League last season and have added just two players to that squad: midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Luke Shaw.
The Manchester outfit have also allowed a number of players to leave, including centre-backs Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, although in Louis van Gaal they have a manager who had the pedigree to take United back to the top of English football.
Manchester City and Chelsea have the strongest squads at the moment and will head into the 2014-15 campaign as the top two favourites.
As for Liverpool, without star striker Luis Suarez, Brendan Rodgers’s side are likely to struggle to replicate their second-place finish of last season.