Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew believes Arsenal made a mistake by not signing Yohan Cabaye, insisting that the French midfielder would walk into the Gunners' starting line-up.
Cabaye joined the Eagles from Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer and made a successful debut, scoring in the 3-1 win against Norwich on Saturday.
Arsenal were linked with a move for the former Newcastle ace before he left to join PSG, and also were credited with an interest in him this summer before he moved to work with Pardew once more in a deal worth £12.8 million.
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The two teams go head to head this weekend as Arsenal look to bounce back straight away from their opening day defeat against West Ham, and Pardew says their job would be that much easier if they had Cabaye amongst their ranks.
The former West Ham and Newcastle boss also believes that teams like Palace, Newcastle, West Ham and Stoke are closing the gap on the traditional top four.
'He's a fantastic player. He's definitely at the level of Arsenal's players,' Pardew insisted. 'I don't think anyone at Arsenal would disagree with that," Pardew told reporters.
'He would get in their team. In the season to come [you can see] how strong the lower Premier League teams are. Look at West Ham, look at us, we're stronger, Stoke, their signing this week is fantastic. That second tier is getting stronger.'
Arsene Wenger meanwhile has been speaking out about another midfielder - Jack Wilshere - and has conceded he may have put too much pressure on the England international too soon.
The 23-year-old suffered yet another injury setback after picking up a hairline ankle fracture two weeks ago but could be back soon, and Wenger admitted his constant injury troubles could be down to playing too much football early on in his career.
The French boss said: “Maybe when he was younger we overplayed him because he was such a good player but now we are cautious with him.”