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VBET ambassador Ray Parlour believes Arsenal must win at Sheffield Utd on Monday if they are to increase their chances of a top-four finish.
Unai Emery’s side will arrive at Bramall Lane in good form, having not lost in the Barclays Premier League since August 24.
And though respectful of the Blades, who have made a bright start back in the top flight, Arsenal legend Parlour is expecting an away victory in “a massive game for both sides”.
He exclusively told VBET News: “I’ve been really impressed with Sheffield Utd since they came up last season. I think they’ve been excellent.
“(They are) well organised, very efficient in midfield and very good in wide areas.
“They do get the ball into the box – (Oli) McBurnie up front tries and gets on the end – but this is the sort of game that Arsenal have got to win.
“If they are going to try and maintain a top-four position, these are the games you’ve got to get three points from.
“I’m going to tip towards Arsenal – 2-1 is my prediction.”
Arsenal vs Sheffield Utd will forever be remembered for an infamous FA Cup encounter at Highbury in 1999.
With the score at 1-1, Arsenal debutant Nwankwo Kanu chased down Parlour’s throw-in, which was meant to go to Sheffield Utd’s goalkeeper, Alan Kelly – with the ball having been deliberately put out of play so a Blades player could receive treatment.
But Kanu misunderstood the situation and instead passed to Marc Overmars, who instinctively tapped the ball into an empty net.
The game was dramatically declared a void, with Arsenal winning the replay 1-0.
Parlour recalled: “Steve Bruce was the Sheffield Utd manager and he was going mad on the touchline, which I totally agree with.
“We should have probably just let them score at the other end, but Arsene Wenger did exactly the right thing.
“It was a replay and, luckily enough, we won that game as well.
“But what a situation. I’ve never been involved in that before.”
Parlour has also never had to deal with the pressures of being a modern-day footballer in a world of social media.
The former Gunners midfielder expressed relief that technology was not so far advanced during his 20-year career.
“You can’t go out, you can’t lead a normal life,” he said of social media.
“I know you’re a footballer and you’ve got to toe the line, and train hard and play hard.
“But you can’t go anywhere now. Social media, people taking pictures – you can’t do anything.
“In my era, you could get away with quite a bit. But now, the footballers have to live so cleanly.
“I’m glad I’ve not got to deal with it.”