ARSENAL’S heroes produce a £25m Champions League jackpot.
Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott scored the goals that saw Arsenal home in their crucial play-off second leg.
But it was Wojciech Szczesny’s fantastic second-half penalty save from Antonio Di Natale that was the real key to a 14th successive group stage jackpot for the gunners.
Arsenal boss Wenger said: “There is relief and pride. Szczesny’s save was the turning-point because, at 1-1, it kept us qualified and you could see that mentally it had an impact on Udinese’s belief.
“I would like to say our club is in a very strong position overall. For 14 years on the trot we have played in the Champions League group stage.
“We have a new stadium, a fantastic training ground, a very strong financial situation and a very strong team.
“Sometimes you have to take a distance from the catastrophies people have predicted. We live in a society where everyone has an opinion on everything.
“I’m like someone who flies a plane for 30 years and I have to accept someone can come into the cockpit and fly it better than I do. But that’s our job and we must accept it.
“Of course I’m relieved. It was a massive game for us. Overall I feel we responded in a very positive way, even at 1-0 down. It was a fantastic second half and we had chance after chance. In the end it was a comfortable win in a very important game.”
Wenger has received a lot of flack of late following the loss of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona and now Samir Nasri to Manchester City along with his continued failure to bring in new stars to make up for the losses.
Wenger added: “There may be signings but I cannot give you any names. I cannot lie and say we will sign players tomorrow because it is not true. But we are trying very hard.”
Wenger has been told many times that he needs a new keeper. But Wojciech Szczesny added to his growing reputation after 58 minutes with the score on the night at 1 goal apiece.
Thomas Vermaelen was caught out for handball in the area, yet Di Natale saw his spot-kick superbly turned over by Szczesny’s left hand.
Di Natale gave Udinese a 33rd-minute lead but Dutch ace Robin Van Persie levelled on 54 minutes and 15 minutes later Walcott dashed through to seal the tie for the gunners.