By Austin David (@AustinDavid22)
He may be pushing a half-century years old, but former Arsenal Invincible Ray Parlour has still got it. The Gunners legend played a part in the FC Series All-Star game at Universal Studios on Thursday night, alongside former teammate Gilberto Silva and Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar.
The midfielder got a good run out on the small-sided pitch in the heart of the theme park, putting on a show for the fans in attendance. The eventual champions of the event was the team, including Brazilian legends Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos.
This was the final event leading up to the prominent preseason fixture on Saturday as the Gunners take on Chelsea for an early North-West London Derby in Orlando, a match that Parlour is highly excited for.
“It's always a big game, Arsenal-Chelsea, a London Derby,” He said, “Whatever the stakes, where it's a preseason or competitive game, it's always very, very feisty, and no one wants to lose that game.”
Parlour has a notable history playing in the derby, having scored the game-winning goal against the Blues in the 2002 FA Cup Final, which the Gunners eventually won 2-0.
“I remember it being a very, very special occasion to do that. It's not just because it's the FA Cup Final, but because of the team you're playing against, as well,” he said, “One side of the stadium was red, obviously, and the other side was blue. It was an unbelievable atmosphere, and it usually is a really good atmosphere whenever you play in any Arsenal-Chelsea game, so I'm sure it'll be exactly the same when we come to Orlando.”
During the last few weeks, Parlour has been traveling alongside the Gunners from Baltimore to Orlando, participating in all of the festivities.
“It’s been brilliant. Every time we come here(to the states), it’s been a great atmosphere, and I think the games have been brilliant so far, in Baltimore and Orlando City,” he said, “I’m looking forward to Saturday now. Hopefully, we can get a good result against Chelsea, but the lads are looking very sharp in training, and the games are looking very sharp as well.”
The match, which has almost sold out the 65,000-capacity Camping World Stadium, will cap off the FC Series before both sides head back across the pond to prepare for their season-opening matches in just two weeks' time.
“[It'll be] great to see the fans in the flesh,” Parlour said, “I mean, I know we've got supporters clubs all around the States, and they get up at silly o'clock sometimes to watch the game. So it'd be lovely that they can come in and watch the games in the flesh and see Arsenal play.”
The Gunners and Blues will take the pitch for the FC Series finale in downtown Orlando on Saturday, the 23rd of July, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. EDT.