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EXCLUSIVE Ray Parlour previews Arsenal v Manchester City saying: It would be a 'shock' if Unai Emery's side won at the Etihad

PUBLISHED: 07:56 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 08:22 01 February 2019

Arsenal boss Unai Emery admitted he can't afford to buy players in the January transfer window. PA

Arsenal boss Unai Emery admitted he can't afford to buy players in the January transfer window. PA

PA Wire/PA Images

EXCLUSIVE: Ray Parlour has been previewing Arsenal’s trip to Manchester City on Sunday. Read on for what he told Gunners reporter Layth Yousif.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery with new loan signing Denis Suarez. CREDIT ARSENAL FCArsenal boss Unai Emery with new loan signing Denis Suarez. CREDIT ARSENAL FC

The Gunners icon knows Unai Emery’s side face a huge task in attempting to add to their points tally in the race to secure a coveted Champions League spot when facing Pep Guardiola’s highly-acclaimed side at the Etihad.

The league form Emery’s side have shown in 2019 so far has been patchy, with an unconvincing win over Fulham on New Year’s Day followed by a desperately poor 1-0 loss to West Ham at the London Stadium – which preceded a superb 2-0 triumph over Chelsea at the Emirates two weeks ago.

The team again struggled for fluency against Neil Warnock’s Bluebirds on Tuesday on a cold evening in North London and face an uphill task against second place City.

Parlour understands Arsenal face a tough challenge at the weekend, saying: “It will be difficult, City desperately need to win.

Arsenal have signed Denis Suarez on loan from Barcelona. CREDIT ARSENAL FCArsenal have signed Denis Suarez on loan from Barcelona. CREDIT ARSENAL FC

“They’re not in that comfort zone anymore of five or six points ahead – and the way Liverpool are playing, they’ve been keeping the pressure up every week. They keep responding and they’ve done brilliantly.

“It’s going to be difficult, if Arsenal do get top four then it’s been a brilliant season in my eyes.”

Emery’s first match as Arsenal boss was against City in the opening game of the season which resulted in a 2-0 defeat. While the side has progressed since that disjointed display City have only lost three league games all season and will be a supremely tough challenge.

With Arsenal set to face BATE Borisov in the first knock-out stage of the Europa League Parlour believes the tournament can still offer the Gunners an escape route into the Champions League.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (right) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) on the touchline (pic Mike Egerton/Empics)Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (right) and Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) on the touchline (pic Mike Egerton/Empics)

Emery landed the trophy three times in a row while boss of Sevilla and the former Arsenal player is confident the Basque can deliver.

Parlour added: “I still look at cup competitions as being very important. The Europa League is a way into the Champions League and we know about his record in that.

“But Man City at home you would expect to beat Arsenal and it would be a shock if Arsenal won that game.”

Ray was speaking in support of Goals Dagenham “Accept No Substitutes” campaign which is helping five-a-side players across the UK burn a collective 250million calories this January. Goals are creating the ultimate fan experience by bringing recognisable football talent out of retirement to become the five-a-side community’s 10th man.

Goals Dagenham are based at Dagenham Leisure Park, Ripple Road, Dagenham, RM9 6XW.

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