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Feb 26, 2013

Parker: Spurs form will worry Arsenal

Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker believes Gareth Bale's stunning last-minute winner against West Ham on Monday night will have rocked Arsenal back onto their heels ahead of this weekend's North London derby at White Hart Lane.

• AVB: Bale on another level
• Blog: Spurs not a one-man team
• Blog: Arsenal better placed to keep stars

Victory for Spurs in Sunday's showdown will give them a seven-point lead over Arsenal ten games from the end of the season, with Parker hoping the Gunners will feel the weight of pressure in a fixture they can't really afford to lose.

"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," says Parker.

"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.

"Gareth is a world-class player and at the moment he is scoring last-minute goals that are winning games for us. He was fantastic at West Ham and stepped up again to get us the three points."

Parker believes the current Spurs squad is a step ahead of the pool of players Arsene Wenger has assembled at Arsenal, yet he is quick to play down suggestions that the balance of power in North London football has already tilted in the direction of Andre Villas-Boas' men - reflecting on Tottenham's end-of-season collapse a year ago to emphasise his point.

"We've got players in our squad that Arsenal would want any day of the week," Parker said. "Arsenal are still a top club and a top team but we have narrowed the gap, that is clear. 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 against West Ham. Their goalkeeper had a world-class game, but we still managed to get the three points."

Bale has now hit nine goals in his last seven games for club and country and has scored in his last four Premier League games.

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