Jack Wilshere: Arsenal can handle pressure of Premier League title race

Jack Wilshere: Arsenal midfielder reckons the team are mentally stronger

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Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere believes the current squad have turned a corner and have learned how to grind out results.

The Gunners moved into the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday evening with a 2-0 win over north London rivals Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal now have a full week to recover before they resume league duty at Aston Villa on 13 January, when they will be looking to consolidate their one-point lead at the top of the table.

Questions were being asked of Arsene Wenger's squad when they went four games without a win in December, including a 6-3 mauling in the league to Manchester City, but Wilshere is confident Arsenal have developed the right mentality to stay the distance through until May.

"Something clicked towards the end of last season when we knew we had to get fourth, there were games we weren't playing well in, but we were still winning and that has carried on this season," Wilshere said.

The Sunday Mirror's Andy Dunn says Theo Walcott's scoreline gesture to Tottenham fans was provocative

"Sometimes you can't always play your best and you have to still win games - you have seen the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea do that in the past and we are doing it now.

"Every team is going to go through a little blip. We had ours and luckily came back strong.

"We have won a few games in a row now. We are in a good place in the league, in the next round of the FA Cup and we have a break to recover."

Wilshere insists Arsenal will not listen to those who continue to question their character.

"We know what we can do," he said. "There is great character in this squad, a great team spirit.

"We are genuine friends off the pitch. We have a mix of cultures - German, English, Spanish - but we all get on.

"That is helping us and we are concentrating on ourselves rather than anyone else."

Arsene Wenger does not expect Theo Walcott to be in trouble with the FA, following a gesture towards Tottenham fans.

There was a controversial end to Saturday's third-round contest, when Arsenal forward Theo Walcott made a "2-0" gesture to the travelling supporters behind the goal in the Clock End after missiles were thrown at the stretcher which was carrying the injured player around towards the tunnel.

The Football Association will wait until receiving the match report of referee Mark Clattenburg before deciding whether the incident warrants investigation.

Last month Wilshere was given a retrospective two-match ban for making an offensive hand gesture towards the Manchester City supporters which saw him miss the matches against Chelsea and at West Ham, on Boxing Day.

The England midfielder hopes his team-mate does not suffer the same disciplinary action.

"I think they (Spurs fans) were giving him a bit of stick. He's a bit smarter than me, I suppose," Wilshere said.

"It is football. They were giving it to him and got it back. People have to look at it as a bit of banter."