Ray Parlour was speaking with NetBet Sports Betting following the 3-1 victory for Arsenal over Liverpool, he gave us his thoughts on the game and weighed in on the ‘over celebrating’.
Ray opened by talking about the win: “It was brilliant. It has really ramped it up and the players really responded. Those are the sort of days you want to be at the Emirates for, when they’re winning games like that it just gives everyone a lift. It was a big game and I know that people say ‘oh they think they’ve won the league already with the celebrations’, but they knew that if they lost that game against Liverpool, they are out of the title race.
“That’s why it was a bigger game for Arsenal than it was probably for Liverpool, because being at home as well, you have to put one over them, especially after the FA Cup defeat. I was a little bit optimistic before the game, but I didn’t expect it to pan out like that, how they played. I think they deserved it.”
Despite a dominant victory over the most inform side in the country, pundits and mainstream media opted to focus on the gunners post-match celebrations, in which Parlour gave his perspective on:
“Of course, you have got to enjoy those moments, you get into the hype with the fans. The fans must have been buzzing knowing they beat Liverpool, who are going very well at the moment and are top of the league.
“I think it was a must-win game. And if not a must-win, you can’t lose the game. They know that if you can win, it certainly puts a statement out there. There’s a long way to go yet but if they’d lost that game yesterday, I think that was a title race over – Liverpool think they’re going to win the title.
“So I think it was more relief, really. People are thinking ‘they think they’ve won a league already’ No, we’ve not won the league. You’ve got Manchester City, and they are still the ones to beat for me. But certainly, you’ve got to enjoy the moment. You have got to enjoy beating a really top side like Liverpool. I know they didn’t have [Mohamed] Salah, but it’s still a very good side, especially with [Jurgen] Klopp as well. I think you’ve got to celebrate. I celebrated into the early hours of the morning!”
Pundit Jamie Carragher seemingly riled up the home fans by his comments post-match when he said: “There was a desperation about Arsenal, it felt bigger to Arsenal. It’s not a criticism of Liverpool but it felt like they (Arsenal) had to win. They knew if they lost they were out of it and I think it’s probably why we saw some of the scenes at the end of the game. You saw [Mikel] Arteta celebrating by running up the line. It felt huge for Arsenal.”
We asked Ray about those comments and he said this:
“I love Jamie. He’s going to be a little bit more bitter because Liverpool lost. He’s a Liverpool legend. But do you know what? I think there was a lot more at stake for Arsenal. If Arsenal lose that game yesterday, they’re out of it. But you’ve got to enjoy the fans. The fans really played their part yesterday as well and they got right behind and emotions sometimes just go away from you. But you’ve got to celebrate.”
With the focus on celebrations it was up to the fans to highlight the sensational performances by the players. Ray says Jorginho was the standout against Liverpool:
“One of the players that was outstanding yesterday was Jorginho. I’d put out a video earlier in the week where I said that I would play Jorginho because I thought this game suited him. Alongside Declan Rice, they seemed to have quite a nice balance. There were a lot of people that disagreed with that and didn’t want to see him in the starting eleven. He ended up getting the Player of the Match award.
“You have got to be efficient as a central midfielder. You got to keep things ticking over. You’re part of everything, really. You have got to tackle. You have got to win the ball back in certain areas. You got to pass the ball well, your momentum sometimes you’ve got to keep that going. You’ve got to keep people around you on their toes. He’s got the experience. We know that he’s played in some big, big games.”
Next up for Mikel Arteta’s side is West Ham at the London Stadium, a location in which they have struggled in recent years and having lost there already this season in the cup, they will be looking to return the favour to the Hammers on Sunday.