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Theo - This is such a big lift for us

Theo Walcott believes qualifying for the Champions League knockout stages can galvanise Arsenal’s title bid.

Arsène Wenger’s side won three of their final four Group F games to secure a place in the last 16, and produced a convincing display when beating Olympiacos 3-0 in Greece on Wednesday night.

Walcott says the squad are ready for the busy Christmas period - and have been boosted by the result in Athens.

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Olympiacos (a) - Goals

“The confidence in that dressing room is spreading out to all the players,” he said. “That is what you want going into this Christmas period because during it, it is where it pans out where you are going to be in the Premier League at the end. So come January, we will see how it goes.

“The Europa League wasn’t even in our mindset at all at the start of this game. We felt we were going to go through.

“We wanted to win this game and the Champions League is where we want to be. All the guys work tremendously hard to make that happen.

“The first goal was key. We had to unsettle the fans. You could tell by the atmosphere that the fans are a massive part of this team and as soon as we got them quiet and on the other team’s back, we knew we had the game won.

“The manager told us that at the start of it. We didn’t want slow build-up play - we wanted a nice tempo to the game - and it worked for us.

“We are pleased but we’d like to make this job a bit easier next time.”

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