Arsenal ‘not a top-four team’ and ‘only just better’ than Palace – Steve Nicol | Football


Mikel Arteta’s side won the Premier League opener at Selhurst Park (Picture: Getty Images)

Liverpool hero Steve Nicol doesn’t think Arsenal are a ‘top-four team’ and rates them as ‘only just better’ than Crystal Palace.

The Gunners got their season off to the best possible start with a 2-0 victory away at Selhurst Park on Friday night.

A first-half header from Gabriel Martinelli and an own goal from Marc Guehi in the 85th minute was enough to secure all three points for Mikel Arteta’s side.

The north Londoners will be looking to improve upon their fifth-placed finish last season and have made a number of key signings in order to attempt to do so.

Debutants Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko both impressed, while William Saliba, who was also making his debut, was solid at the back.

However, Nicol remains unconvinced by the Gunners in terms of their top-four credentials.

‘Considering how badly they started last season, getting the win regardless of how you play is probably the most important thing,’ Nicol told ESPN FC.

Arsenal winger Gabriel Martinelli

Gabriel Martinelli scored the opening goal for the Gunners (Picture: Getty Images)

‘I thought they were there the best side, there wasn’t much in it, which kind of tells me that they’re not a top-four side.

‘Yes, they’re better than Palace who are a mid-table team, and they’re only just better than Palace.

‘It kind of looks as though, certainly judging from this game, we’re kind of going to get the same Arsenal as we got last year – a team that will do well at times but ultimately won’t get in the top four, not on this performance.’

On the performance of debutant Saliba, Gunners boss Arteta said: ‘You don’t really see that. At 21 years old, debut in the Premier League, against this opponent, against physical players – and resolve that situation the way he has done it.

‘With that composure, with that calmness and with that presence. So big credit to the boy.’

MORE : ‘Magnificent’ – Ian Wright gives verdict on Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba debuts as Arsenal beat Crystal Palace

MORE : Manchester United or Arsenal? Roy Keane and Gary Neville disagree over who will finish higher in the Premier League

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