Parlour identifies Arteta's 'good headache' and rates Arsenal's top-four chances

Ray Parlour says Mikel Arteta has a ‘good headache’ when it comes to the wealth of attacking options vying for places at Arsenal but believes the club have left themselves with too much to do in the race for a top-four finish, with sixth place ‘probably the best they can get’ this season.

The Gunners came away from Brighton with all three points thanks to Alexandre Lacazette’s second-half strike at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday night and the result meant Arteta’s men have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since September.

Promising young trio Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Emile Smith Rowe have all led from the front versus both Chelsea and Brighton and club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned on the south coast after missing Arsenal’s previous three matches.

It leaves Arteta with several selection dilemmas ahead of this weekend’s trip to West Brom, with the likes of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, Willian, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah all pushing for game-time in Arsenal’s offensive positions.

‘It’s a good headache to have and the next four games – I’m going to take the FA Cup game out of that – are all winnable,’ ex-Arsenal midfielder Parlour told talkSPORT.

‘West Brom away, Palace at home, Newcastle at home… so I’m sure Arteta will look at it and say, “we’ve hit the ground running now and hopefully we can carry this on for the next three games”.

‘And suddenly you can be in sixth place, this is how bad the league is!’

Arsenal’s return to form sees them just six points off London rivals Chelsea and Tottenham in the table but Parlour has played down his former club’s chances of finishing in the top four.

‘They won’t get in the top four, they’re too far behind and they’ve given themselves too much of a hill to climb,’ he added.

‘I know the other teams above them are slipping up as well but I just can’t see it.

‘There’s four better teams than Arsenal at the moment. For me, sixth place is probably the best they can get.’

Parlour continued: ‘At the start of the season, after winning the FA Cup, they made some good signings.

‘Thomas Partey’s not really been in the team at the moment. He’s going to make a big difference in that midfield area, a bit more mobility.

‘Look at the teams. You could argue Liverpool, Manchester City, Spurs are going okay, Chelsea will come good again when they’ve got their players back, Leicester, Manchester United so it’s going to be difficult.’

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