Theo Walcott admits Arsenal players held crisis talks before Hull game

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It is often said that Arsenal lack leaders but Per Mertesacker, Petr Cech, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky would all disagree.

The quartet led a crisis meeting ahead of the FA Cup last 16 clash with Hull as the Gunners seek to turn around their miserable form.

Two wins in nine league games has left Arsenal’s title dream in tatters, while a 2-0 loss to Barcelona in the first leg of the last 16 tie has all but ended their Champions League run.


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Theo Walcott, who has come under criticism for his recent performances, revealed that a group of senior figures called a team meeting to discuss their problems.

The England striker said, per the Guardian: “We are not going to lie. We know as a unit it has been tough and we all had a good chat among us behind closed doors, without even any of the coaches or the manager knowing about anything and I think it is important that as a team we have got it in us.

“We just have to produce it more often.”

Arsenal recovered from a 2-1 deficit with 10 men to grab a point against Tottenham at the weekend, and Walcott, 26, believes the squad’s character was on full display in the north London derby.

“You had a sense of the Tottenham game especially, when you go down to 10 men in a big game like that, the belief and the character was there,” he said.

“The never-give-up spirit was there as well. In the derby matches, they could be the matches that turn your season and we may have turned the corner maybe.”

Experienced heads 

Cech, Arteta, Mertesacker and Rosicky are all over the age of 30 and their years of experience meant they were the ones to stand up among the rest of the group.

Walcott continued: “We have quite a lot of experienced players in the dressing room. It came from Cech, Mikel, Per and Tomas. We have four good old heads there.

“I’d like to keep what was said among ourselves but it was very important. We have had a reaction from it anyway.

“He [Arsene Wenger] probably knows about it anyway – he’s got ears everywhere at the club. The manager respects the players’ privacy and what’s happening personally among us all.

“It was a meeting to express how everyone was feeling basically and it worked.”

It certainly did. The Gunners cruised through to the quarter-finals of England’s oldest cup competition thanks to a 4-0 win over Hull.

And Walcott scored a confidence-boosting brace after enduring a disappointing run of games.

Wenger will hope the Hull performance kickstarts a streak of Premier League wins. His team trail Leicester by eight points and cannot afford to drop any more points from now until May.

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