Petr Cech has rejuvenated the Gunners after their 0-0 draw with Stoke City at the Britannia on Sunday (17 January), Arsenal forward Theo Walcott has said. The former Chelsea man has talked to players and impressed on them the importance of a point at the venue, where other top four teams have gone back with none.
Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea – the rest of last season's top four – have all suffered defeat here. So the Gunners are a sole exception. The importance of the result was further accentuated by the injury crisis at Arsenal, with the Gunners taking the field without the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, the latter missing out with a foot injury.
In recent times, the Gunners have had a woeful record against the Potters at the Britannia, with their last win coming in 2010, in the game where Aaron Ramsey broke his leg after a tackle by Ryan Shawcross. Stoke made it hard this time around too, with a few astute saves from Cech keeping the hosts from taking the lead in the second half. Arsenal had a few gilt-edged chances of their own, but Olivier Giroud failed to find the back of the net.
"All the big teams that have come here have struggled, with Stoke getting positive results," Walcott told Arsenal's official website. "There were mixed emotions in the dressing room, but it is probably a fair result.
"We felt, from the start we were up for the fight. Physically. It's a shame that we couldn't get the result we desperately wanted but it is an improvement from previous performances here and we have got to be proud of that point.
"The mental strength in our dressing room is the strongest it has ever been. When you have the likes of Petr Cech coming in as well, he only enhances that. He has lifted everybody's heads up, saying this is a very good point and that nobody tends to win here. We just have to look at him because he has been at the top level and won many things. So if we have the belief that he has got, we can push on."