By Declan Taylor

According to Theo Walcott the characters in Arsenal’s dressing room will help the Gunners cope with the lofty run-in pressure.

Arsenal cruised into the Champions League Semi-Final with a classy performance against Villarreal on Wednesday. And with that last-four berth assured, the Gunners can book their first FA Cup Final spot since 2005 with victory over Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday.

With the pressure mounting, Walcott and the rest of the Gunners are flying. For the 20-year-old, it’s a result of the squad’s individual “characters”.

“We’re dealing with the pressure at the right time,” the winger said. “That just shows the amount of characters in the dressing room at the moment.”

“I haven’t had the opportunity to play in a Semi-Final before and I remember when I first joined I had seven months not playing for the first team. Having had the experience of going to Villarreal in the Semi-Final [in 2006/07] has paid off in the end.

Walcott equalised for Arsenal at Wigan last Saturday and followed up the strike with a glorious chip against Villarreal in midweek. As ever, the winger oozed humility when asked about the goal.

“I play on the right-wing still but the boss has given me licence to go forward quite a lot. It’s brilliant to be on the scoresheet but it’s brilliant to be on the winning team in the Semi-Final of the Champions League.”

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17 Apr 2009