Arsenal's top four hopes have been written off.
Nicol told ESPN FC: "Considering how badly they started last season, getting the win regardless of how you play is probably the most important thing.
"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"