By Nick Teale
Arsène Wenger says last week's win over Liverpool has revitalised his side after a difficult run of fixtures.
After picking up a point at Aston Villa, Arsenal lost to Manchester United and Chelsea - a string of results that left them nine points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea.
However, the Gunners bounced back with a resolute 1-0 win over Liverpool last Wednesday. The victory, coupled with Chelsea and Manchester United's failure to win on the same night, has seen Arsenal surge back into the title race.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Porto, Wenger explained how the result lifted his team.
"It was a massive relief for us," he said. "It put some hope into the squad again, and some determination.
"The coincidence of the fixtures this year was very hard with us. To come out of that spell with at least some hope was vital for us."
Porto extended their unbeaten run to 12 games with a goalless draw at Leixoes on Saturday. However, Arsenal were not in action at the weekend and Wenger believes that could aid the Gunners when the teams meet.
"I believe for us it [a break] was needed," he said.
"People don't realise how much demand there was on the players to play so many big consecutive games; Aston Villa, Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. I just felt that mentally the break was welcome for us."