Reports from England say four senior Arsenal players instigated a secret meeting in a bid to save the team’s season following a poor run of results before Tuesday’s emphatic win at Hull.
Arsenal had been on a run of five matches without a win before thrashing Hull 4-0 on Tuesday night to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
The team’s slump had left the Emirates outfit eight points behind leaders Leicester in the Premier League title race and with an almost impossible task to reach the Champions League quarter-finals.
The poor run had older heads in the dressing room worried and private inquest spearheaded by quartet Petr Cech, Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky took place behind closed doors to deliver some home truths without the knowledge of manager Arsene Wenger and his backroom staff.
“We are not going to lie, we know as a unit it has been tough and we all had a good chat amongst us behind closed doors. I think it is important that as a team [to know] we have got it in us. We just have to produce it more often.
“You had a sense of the Tottenham game especially, when you go down to ten men in a big game like that, the belief and the character was there. 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.
“I’d like to keep what was said among ourselves but it was very important. We have had a reaction from it anyway.” Theo Walcott told the Football Insider
Wenger promotes an environment whereby his squad can sort their difficulties out on their own and the meeting is believed to have taken place before the 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane last Saturday.
“He probably knows about it anyway – he’s got ears everywhere at the club,” observed Walcott. “The manager respects the players’ privacy and what’s happening personally amongst us all. It was a meeting to express how everyone was feeling basically and it worked.
“The most important thing at Hull was just a clean sheet. We have been conceding too many goals cheaply as a unit. We haven’t been scoring enough. It was a confidence boost to everyone.” Walcott added.
It is not the first time senior members of the Arsenal squad have met privately to address a crisis. A similar meeting took place in September following the home defeat by Olympiakos in the Champions League, after which they produced two of their best performances of the season to sweep aside Manchester United 3-0 at home and defeat Bayern Munich 2-0.