Gareth Bale's stunning late winning for Tottenham will have left Arsenal reeling in the battle for Champions League qualification, reckons Scott Parker.
Bale scored twice in last night's 3-2 victory over West Ham with the second a long range strike of the highest class.
Parker thinks it was a moment that damaged Arsenal's morale as the local rivals duel for a place among the Premier League's top four.
“It’s deflating,” the Spurs midfielder said. “I’ve been in that position when you’re playing and you’re watching the scores come in and you hear there’s been a last-minute goal in a game that’s important for your side.
“You’re praying it’s gone the way you wanted it to and then you hear it’s a goal for the team you didn’t want to score. So it is deflating for a player watching, and I’m sure the Arsenal players are like that."
Bale's performance last night was just the latest in a remarkable run which has taken his tally to nine in seven games for club and country.
His goals extended Tottenham's unbeaten run in the Premier League to 11 games and put them third in the table.
Spurs are now four points ahead of Arsenal and could extend that to seven when they meet the Gunners at the weekend. And few would bet against Bale making the difference in Sunday's match at White Hart Lane.
“Gareth is a world-class player and at the moment he is scoring last-minute goals that are winning games for us," added Parker. "He was fantastic at West Ham and he’s stepped up again to get us the three points.”
Five of Tottenham’s next seven league fixtures are against Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Chelsea and Manchester City, all of whom are rivals for a top-four finish. Yet their form is so solid — they have not lost in the league since December 9 — that Villas-Boas has not ruled out finishing second, report The Evening Standard.
Manchester City currently have a five-point advantage but the head coach told Sky Sports: “We know the distance is not very big to second place and we have to continue to be confident. We face Arsenal on Sunday and it’s a big opportunity to build a distance to them.
“Everton are nine points behind now, Arsenal four and maybe we’re in grabbing distance of City. Our priority is to establish our position and, hopefully, get a more comfortable distance to Chelsea and Arsenal next week.”
Tottenham were 10 points clear of Arsenal before they lost 5-2 at Emirates Stadium and Arsene Wenger’s side ultimately overhauled them for third place, which cost Spurs a Champions League spot.
That experience is driving the current squad and Parker believes Arsenal would be desperate to have a number of Spurs players in their team.
“We’ve got players in our squad that Arsenal would want any day of the week,” the 32-year-old said. “Arsenal are still a top club and a top team but we’ve narrowed the gap. You can never say anything for certain but a win in that game would put us in a good position.
“What happened last year is a focus and something we’re aware of. We’ve worked really hard to get into this position and we can’t afford to fall off now.
“Arsenal will be thinking that if they can beat us the gap will be only one point, so it is going to be tight. The race for fourth place isn’t over but we fully deserved the win last night; their goalkeeper had a world-class game.”
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