JONATHAN Walters feels that Stoke City are getting the Christmas cheer in early thanks to their weekend win over Arsenal.
Saturday's 3-2 defeat of the Gunners not only ended a three-game losing streak for City but also heaped more pressure on Arsene Wenger. And Walters' strike in that game was also a personal landmark, the 100th goal of a senior career which began with Bolton 12 years ago.
With five defeats from their previous seven games the pressure was on Stoke to nick something against the Gunners, and for Walters it was important for morale heading into the festive period that his side deserved their three points.
"To be honest we would have taken a bad performance and a win, because we just needed to get things going again," says the Ireland international.
"It makes it all the more special to have won the game having performed well, and now we will look to build upon that result in the forthcoming Christmas and New Year fixtures," added Walters, Stoke preparing for a busy period which will see them play Chelsea, Everton and Manchester United in the coming weeks.
And Walters insists that heads never dropped at Stoke even during that difficult run of games.
"It's swings and roundabouts in football - sometimes things go for you and on other occasions they go against you - just like they had done in a number of the recent games," he says.
"I feel that you make your own luck in this game by working as hard as you can each and every day on the training field and then on matchdays too.
"When you are on a bad run then you need to dig in really deep, and we managed to do that on Saturday and picked up a huge three points.
"We were delighted to win the game especially given the manner that we performed, particularly during the first half where we produced some fantastic stuff."
Meanwhile, Walters' international team-mate Stephen Kelly is relishing a run in the Reading side.
The 31-year-old endured a tough start to the season due to injury and he had to wait until November for his first appearance for the Royals, that injury also ruling him out of contention for the national squad.
But he has not made five appearances for Nigel Adkins' side and claimed a clean sheet in last weekend's draw with Bolton.
"Most of the play was all in front of us and in terms of shots on goal, shots on target, chances conceded, we're pretty pleased with how we performed defensively," he says.
"As a defender, our mindset was on getting a clean sheet, knowing that it gives us something to build on.
"After a win last week, a draw this week, we've got to be positive and move on. It's two games unbeaten now and, in this league, you need to get a run together. The win at Norwich and then the draw on Saturday will hopefully be the start of one."