London: Arsene Wenger claimed Arsenal's spirit has carried them through a traumatic period after Sunday's 3-0 win over Watford eased a little of the pressure on the beleaguered boss.
Wenger is fighting to save his job and a 2-0 win at AC Milan in the Europa League on Thursday offered the Frenchman temporary respite from the torrent of abuse he has endured this season.
Maintaining the momentum from that last-16 victory in the San Siro, Wenger's side ended a run of three successive Premier League defeats with a solid display at the Emirates Stadium.
Shkodran Mustafi's early opener and a cool finish from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put them in control.
In a moment of sweet vindication, Watford captain Troy Deeney, who had questioned Arsenal's spirit earlier this season, had a second-half penalty saved by Petr Cech.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan's strike wrapped up the points, but there was concern for Wenger ahead of Thursday's second leg against Milan as Mustafi limped off with a groin injury in the closing stages.
Arsenal remain in sixth place and still look unlikely to qualify for next season's Champions League via a top-four finish.