Theo Walcott says there were signs of Arsenal's improvements at the back during their 10-game unbeaten run at the end of last season.
The Gunners have the joint-best defensive record this term and secured their eighth clean sheet in the league in Sunday's 1-0 win over Newcastle.
Walcott was pleased with the resilience the side showed at St James’ Park, and feels it stems from their increased confidence at the back.
We've got great character in that dressing room and we're getting stronger and stronger every weekTheo Walcott
"I think you could see from the [final] 10 games last year that it was coming and that we had it in ourselves," Walcott told Arsenal Player. "Everyone has been absolutely solid throughout the whole year and it was nice to see Laurent [Koscielny] back today as well.
"It's been two tough away matches in this period, I think a lot of people doubted that we were going to get results.
"It just shows that we've got great character in that dressing room and we're getting stronger and stronger every week. Everyone trusts each other, which is so important. Going into the new year, we're very excited."
Victory over Alan Pardew's side meant Arsenal will end 2013 on top of the Premier League and Walcott feels it will give the team belief they can stay there until May.
"Every game that goes by that we win is more belief that we're going to win the league," he said. "But we won't get ahead our ourselves, we know how crucial every game is.
"We've got to make sure we look after ourselves and hopefully teams will start to slip up. Just as long as we keep on believing, which everyone is and we've been doing from the start of the season.
"Hopefully everyone can stay fit, which is important to have a nice run to the end of the season."Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source