RAY Parlour believes Cherries would end Arsenal's status as "serious contenders" for the top four if they beat the Gunners on Sunday.

Arsene Wenger's side are five points adrift of fourth-place Liverpool in the Premier League standings heading into the contest at Vitality Stadium (1.30pm).

And former Arsenal midfield star Parlour reckons his old club cannot afford to drop points if they are to retain hopes of Champions' League qualification.

Parlour told the Daily Echo: "It's a big game. Arsenal will be kicking themselves because of the result against West Brom. They had a penalty decision go against them and dropped two points.

"Against Chelsea it could have gone either way. On another night, Chelsea could have beaten them but in the end they got a battling 2-2 draw, so they need to pick up all three points this weekend.

"If they are going to be serious contenders for the top four, they can't afford to drop any more points, especially – and no disrespect – against clubs like Bournemouth."

Cherries and Arsenal shared a 3-3 draw in Dorset 12 months ago after the Gunners battled back from three goals down.

Parlour said: "Last year, Bournemouth scored three goals against Arsenal so they have to believe they can trouble them again. But it will be tough.

"I'm sure Eddie Howe will tell his players: 'Believe in yourselves and try to get that first goal and then maybe we can beat them'."

Jack Wilshere, who spent most of last season on loan at Cherries, has been a regular in the Arsenal starting XI recently.

Parlour added: "It's great to see him back in the team. He has been very patient this year and has got on with his job.

"He impressed Arsene Wenger in training, got his opportunity through injuries and took it.

"Hopefully, he won't look back now. In recent games he has been one of Arsenal's best players.

"I'm sure he enjoyed being on loan at Bournemouth and maybe that made him stronger.

"He's very mobile around the pitch now and we know how good he is on his day, so that definitely helped him."