Parlour urges Arsenal patience to beat Bayern
Parlour thinks Arsene Wenger’s men need to focus on defending stoutly, before launching an assault on the German’s defence.
And he is optimistic Arsenal, who beat Bayern 2-0 at the Allianz Arena in last season’s Champions League, can get a result in the first leg of their last 16 tie.
"Arsenal are used to dominating possession, but against Bayern they might have to accept they’re going to have less of the ball. This won’t feel natural to them,” the four-time FA Cup winner told FourFourTwo.
- Bayern 0-2 Arsenal (CL, Mar 13)
- Arsenal 1-3 Bayern (CL, Feb 13)
- Arsenal 1-0 Bayern (CL, Mar 05)
- Bayern 3-1 Arsenal (CL, Feb 05)
- Bayern 1-0 Arsenal (CL, Mar 01)
- Arsenal 2-2 Bayern (CL, Dec 00)
"In this situation they have to drop off a little bit and then try and pick Bayern off when they get a chance to go forward.
"Arsenal need to start the game strong defensively, then as they grow in confidence and the game settles they can force the play and have a go at Bayern.
"This might force Bayern to change their system, which could help to unsettle them. If they can go out there and do this they have a really good chance of progressing in the Champions League."
Disrupting the flow of Pep Guardiola’s charges will not be easy. With the relentless Spaniard calling the shots, last season’s treble-winning side will play with lots of energy, pressing the Gunners across the pitch.
The Bundesliga leaders are a slick-passing machine in possession with the likes of Thiago, Arjen Robben, Mario Gotze and Philipp Lahm in their star-studded line-up.
To halt their charge, Arsenal’s midfield will have to forge an impregnable barricade.
"Stopping a team like Bayern is all about positioning and covering your team-mates," says Parlour.
"As a midfielder you have got to shuffle across and make sure there’s no space in between the lines."
The Gunners head into the game off the back of a 2-1 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup, while Bayern thumped Freiburg 4-0 – a 13th successive league victory, which extended their unbeaten run in the Bundesliga to 46 matches.
Instead of filling the Arsenal players with dread, Parlour believes this record should inspire them to rise to the occasion.
It’s up to the players to step up and take this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and have a right go
"As a player you cannot wait for these games. Playing against Bayern in the last 16 of the Champions League is a dream come true," he said.
"It’s up to the players to step up and take this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and have a right go.
"As long as they can walk off at the end of both games, look themselves in the mirror and say, ‘I did the best I could out there’, then they can be proud no matter what the result is."
Ray Parlour was talking to FourFourTwo at the Budweiser Open Trials, in association with BT Sport, helping decide which London based amateur footballers will have a dream opportunity to play in front of professional scouts at Wembley. Watch the first part of the Budweiser Open Trials on BT Sport on Saturday March 8, as part of its FA Cup coverage. Subscribe to YouTube.com/BudweiserUK to keep up with all the action.