The Arsenal players held a secret emergency meeting, without the knowledge of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger, revealed winger Theo Walcott, after their 4-0 win over Hull City in the replay of the FA Cup Round 5 match.
Arsenal were expected to pose a strong challenge in the Premier League this season, with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United out of the way. However, since their 2-1 win against Leicester City, they had slumped to a five-match winless streak. They lost three of these, and drew the other two, to fall eight points behind table toppers Leicester.
These successive losses had affected the team’s morale so much, that four of the senior players held a secret meeting with the rest of the players to clear the air.
“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, without even any of coaches or the manager knowing about anything,” Walcott was quoted as saying by Goal.com. “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.
Walcott further went on to name the four senior players, saying that goalkeeper Petr Cech, club captain Mikel Arteta, defender Per Mertesacker, and midfielder Tomas Rosicky convened the emergency meeting.
“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,” continued Walcott.
However, when quizzed about what was said in the meeting, the England international declined to comment. He said, “I’d like to keep what was said among ourselves but it was very important. We have had a reaction from it anyway.”
Cech’s influence stretching beyond the pitch?
The decision to bring in the Czech Republic international was hailed by many pundits, who said that Cech will not only help in keeping the ball out of the goal, but also help the Arsenal players out with his vast experience, having won a number of titles with cross-town rivals Chelsea.
There have already been significant reports about how Cech uses his off-field knowledge to help his teammates. Being fluent in English, French, Spanish and German, Cech is able to communicate effectively with the Spaniards (Nacho Monreal and Hector Bellerin), the Frenchman (Laurent Koscielny) and the German (Mertesacker) in the back four, during the match.
After this revelation by Walcott, it is quite clear that Cech is also playing the role of a good leader among his teammates, to help them out of the tricky situations that they have recently fallen into. It would be interesting to see if the former Chelsea man can inspire the Gunners to a late comeback in the Premier League this season.