Feb 26 2013
Scott Parker thinks Arsenal will be feeling "deflated" at the prospect of facing Tottenham following Gareth Bale's latest last-gasp winner at West Ham.
With just 10 seconds left on the clock, Bale struck a 25-yard thunderbolt to give Spurs a 3-2 win which moved them up to third ahead of Sunday's crunch north London derby at White Hart Lane. Bale has now scored 19 goals for Spurs this season and four of those goals have come in the final 15 minutes.
When asked what he thought Arsenal would make of seeing Bale's killer goal fly in, Parker said: "It's deflating isn't it? I've been in that position where you're watching the scores come up (on television) and it goes 'last minute goal at wherever' and you're praying it's the other team - and it isn't, it's the team that you don't want to score."
He added: "So it is deflating as a player on the opposite end, and I'm sure the Arsenal players are like that.
"I'm sure they'll be thinking they need to concentrate on themselves and try to win the game against us, and if they win the game against us it goes down to a point so it's going to be tight."
Tottenham players usually need no motivation when it comes to north London derbies, but they have the added incentive of knowing that derby glory would move them seven points ahead of their bitter rivals with just 10 games left.
Tottenham were in a better position this time last season, but they surrendered a 10-point lead over Arsenal and ended up playing in the Europa League, although that was largely thanks to Chelsea's victory in Munich. Parker does not want a repeat performance this term.
"What happened last year drives us," the midfielder said. "It's a focus and it's something we're aware of. We've worked really hard this season to get where we've got, and we can't afford to fall off it."
Tottenham have not finished above Arsenal in the Barclays Premier League for the last 18 years. In that time Arsenal have won three titles thanks to the exploits of the likes of Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp - but Parker thinks Spurs now possess players, like Bale, who Arsenal are envious of.
"I think we've got players in our squad that obviously Arsenal would want any day of the week," Parker said. "Tottenham have probably always been in the shadows of Arsenal a little bit. I don't know if the pendulum's turning - Arsenal are still a top club and a top side - but certainly we've narrowed the gap."