Senior players called crisis meeting ahead of Hull game

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Arsenal players crisis meeting

Before last night’s 4-0 win over Hull, some of Arsenal’s most senior players called a meeting to address some of the issues the team have been having in recent weeks.

Mikel Arteta, Per Mertesacker, Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky were the instigators of the get-together, which took place away from the coaching staff and the manager.

The Arse-summit, if you will, was revealed by Theo Walcott, speaking in the wake of his two-goal salvo which helped the Gunners into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

“We have quite a lot of experienced players in the dressing room,” he said. “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.

“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.”

And he said that Arsene Wenger would have been aware of it, despite respecting the privacy of the players (he certainly knows about it now that you’ve said it out loud, Theo!)

“He probably knows about it anyway,” he continued. “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.”

Of course it would be better if these kinds of meetings weren’t necessary, but if the reaction to it helped spark our most convincing win (in terms of scoreline) all season, then they should do it more often.

79 COMMENTS

    • Never too late for a crisis meeting. Would you have preffered the players to continue letting AW take all the flak and come up with all the answers when in all fairness it is them who are performing well below expectations. I think it shows great class and team spirit they did this away from the boss. Shows him they care and want to perform for him and he doesn’t have to take the burden on his own!

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        • Alternatively, it was the squad accepting that the problems had nothing to do with the manager and they were not doing their jobs properly on the pitch.

          They were at fault, so they had to fix it.

          And if Theo hadn’t opened his gob, none of us would have been the wiser.

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      • I completely agree with TommyGun.

        What’s the point of a crisis meeting when we’ve already blown the league title. The crisis meeting should of happened after we got hammered away at Southampton, the senior players in the squad should of addressed everyone’s desire in the changing room after the game and asked the question ‘how badly do we want to win the title?’

        Its no good when we’ve got a handful of games to go till the end of the season and Leicester are already 5 points clear of 2nd spot.

        Moronic thing to say in my opinion. Walcott should stop spinning such BS in his interviews, and focus on his own performances.

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          • In my opinion our problems have never been getting up for the big games. Its the complacency against the small ones which has really let us down, we think just getting off the bus will guarantee the 3 points, but they don’t realise they have to perform in the smaller games, its not just about being Arsenal. Maybe 10 years ago that was the case, but not any more.

            And the reasons why we lose the big games, is due to individual mistakes mainly.

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    • We never got to grips with the game until well after we scored and the scoreline certainly flattered us. Don’t lets get carried away with the result, the performance would not have beat a lot of top 10 Prem teams. We not only need some players in key positions but need to stop faffing around with negative build up and start playing direct positive football

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      • OK, we didn’t win as convincingly as some might like, but we put out a side strong enough to beat Hull. Which we did, and kept a clean sheet despite losing both our CBs.

        Against a top 10 Prem team, we’d have played Özil, Sanchez, Bellerin, probably Ramsey from the start, and not left Danny W back in London.

        A much more dynamic team, which would suggest that rather than needing players, we suffered by not playing all of the ones we already have.

        Essentially, we beat a decent side with the equivalent of one hand tied behind our backs.

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    • Theo never says anything without thinking carefully about it. He is one of the most well-rehearsed speakers you will see in the game. Everything has a purpose.

      Now if only he would play as well as he can talk…

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  1. Nice to see the players taking the initiative on their own. Hope this sparks some renewed life into our title challenge. The manager, players, and us fans deserve to see us lift the league! COYG

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  2. Good. But this should have happened after the three game slump and not after 6 games. And we could have been looking at a very different league table.

    Oh well. Up The Gunners. #COYG

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  3. It’s nice to see the players trying to manage themselves even if the manager doesn’t want too, although it’s probably too late for us to win the league now.

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  4. exactly what senior players should be doing. not surprised at all that Arteta, Cech, Mertesacker and Rosicky led the way. Clearly the players know they have been letting the club, manager, team mates, and fans down. Lets hope the meeting has hammered home to them, the need for them to give it their all for the rest of the season, there are still trophies to be won.

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  5. Quite the Leaders Against Downward Spirals (LADS, if you will) we have, I’m glad they took the squad by the scruff.

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  6. Strange that it took a turgid display in the first-half before the pep surfaced.. Hopefully Mystical Mikel can beam an instruction to a Barça full-back to play a rash pass across his box for HFB to latch onto early on.

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  7. The meeting was short. it went something like this. Petr spoke:
    “Oi pretty boy, start scoring goals.
    And you.. you signed da ting, now score da ting!”

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    • Well these player meetings are becoming quite the thing these days, and the boys don’t want to be left out. All the top teams are doing it, you know.

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  8. Judging by the result, we now need to decree you hold this meeting before every PL games till end of season!

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  9. It’s good to see that players give a f*ck about the season and have some sort of character about them.

    I’ve seen a lot of people commenting on this forum as well as others about our season being finished or on the other side how we can succeed because Leicester, spurs and city have a tougher run in of fixtures.

    I would like us to have a balanced stance on this and concentrate on each game as it comes rather than focusing on how the others are going to fare. Let’s give it our very best and see where it lands us. If at the end of this we come away with a trophy or two then great. If we are pipped by any other team for the league then Fairplay to them.

    But let us give it our absolute best. That includes players as well as us fans. Let’s get behind the team at least until the end of the season. We can then assess at the end the situation regarding the manager and some players. Especially the fans who go to the stadium to support the team. Let’s get behind the team. Together we can do this. COYG.

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  10. Good on Thomas for getting involved. He knows he can have no physical roll in helping our season but it’s good to see he cares. 👍

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  11. Anything that comes from Walcott’s mouth rarely surprises or excites me, but this has done just that. We have two big characters in Mert and Cech, leaders on and off the pitch, I really hope they set the tone that we are going into fucking battle, and each player needs to stand up and be counted. For every single match between now and the end of the season they need to leave absolutely everything they have out on the pitch. No passengers, and no excuses. COME ON THE ARSENAL!!!

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  12. My son and I couldn’t help but notice that there seemed to be a marked increase in shots from outside the box. We could never understand why that option was hardly used by us against teams who sit back. (Well kind of have an idea why) . Especially when we have that in our locker. It was great seeing the players mixing it up and shooting from. Hope all this was the kick up the Arse that they needed.

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  13. I’m all for it but it does beg the question why these senior players aren’t speaking ahead of EVERY game? Surely there is a team meeting chaired by AW and the coaching staff, would it not make sense that at the end of these meetings the senior players either spoke up in a team environment or asked everyone to stay behind after the coaching staff exited the room?

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  14. I think a meeting like this is completely normal.

    However, the way that Walcott makes this public is a bit unnecessary. It’s almost seeking a bit of praise for striving to do better in your job when youre stuck in a rut.

    The players did something behind close doors, that’s commendable. But there’s no need to come out and talk about it, trying to look good for it, all the while allowing for the media to now script some kind of story about players losing faith in him, blah blah blah.

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  15. If the meeting produces such score line, please hold it often and often because we are in desperate need of premier league cup.

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  16. That’s why we can’t afford to loose both Rosicky and Arteta. How many times I have read we should sell Arteta, Rosicky, Mertesacker, Flamini… That they are dead wood or they are to old. Hope Arteta stays in the club, maybe as a couch because he have had so many muscle injuries in the last two seasons. I think that’s a call to end a carrer. Rosicky could still have at least one big season with us, if he is injury free, as he is only 32 😛 .

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  17. Ironically all four of them are currently injured, so their influence would have to be off the pitch.

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  18. Walcott needs to concentrate on learning how to control a ball consistently and how to press the opposition, (hint – try putting some effort in for once)

    I do wish he would just shut up with this kind of stuff

    Although it was a good win, I am in agreement with those comments that ask why this isn’t part of the culture and happening on a daily basis

    I think we all know why, and I think that this only happened because they have had a kick up their pampered backsides by the fans and media reaction to another rendition of “groundhog Season / Emperors New Clothes / 1 or 2 players short, etc etc”

    *loves Elneny though*

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  19. How about Wenger calling a meeting to watch the games, analyse what’s going wrong. Where they are making the mistakes and telling the players that if they do it again they can fuck off and find another club to play for! Or at the very least kick a hair drier or football boot at kicked at them. Sir Alex Ferguson style.

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  20. Why do people find a negative in everything that is done or said? Let’s just get behind the team and be thankful that we are where we are, when there are a lot of teams/managers and fans who would swap places with us at the drop of a hat.

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  21. The meeting should have been when we went on top! They should have discussed how not to bottle it up. Alas we are the Arsenal we make it difficult for ourselves. Meeting when we are 8 points behind sounds bad but surely better than nothing. We will put up a good run and fall short, then injured players will come back and we will be told that they are like new signings and no new players will be signed. Sounds like a skiping CD but we are used because they are no top top quality players available to be signed.Theres need for Corporate Governance to be enhanced at Arsenal if results and success has to return to this lovely football club. We need the glory days to be back. I can’t stomach the sp##s doing better than us please!! I feel like vomiting.something needs to give. We need to start competing with the best. It’s not always about money, we have seen it happen with Atletico Madrid, Dortmont and Leceister. The sp##ds are even imitating the capacity of our stadium, please let’s increase the capacity.

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  22. OK but if Theo is bringing this up in public after a horrible run of form, then it’s probably to say “hey look we know that us the players have been awful recently and we really are trying to fix it bc it’s not all on the manager”. If that’s the case, then this is obviously ~emergency~ meeting…. why on earth would you have an ~emergency~ meeting every game? I also feel like before they just weren’t getting results, but now there is a general depression/confusion/slowness about the team (what Sanchez was talking about with mentalities and spirit and what not). This must be what they are trying to fix. And honestly, I feel like it’s the most important, even when we don’t get results, bc to have the team spirit broken would be unbearable; we have to live with at least some of the players for a few more seasons

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  23. Ironic how Theo said that the 4 most senior players initiate the crisis talk, technically speaking he is a senior player coz he’s been at the club for 10 years. Hope he can consider himself a part of that senior players and take initiative on the pitch instead of acting like he’s still a junior gunner

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    • Completely agree with you Charlie. You would think becoming a father would make someone a bit more responsible for their own actions.
      However I think that I would struggle to take Walcott seriously if he tried to instigate a team meeting, considering that he’s contributed hugely to our defensive lapses and is such a huge liability in games these days.

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  24. Agree that this is a good thing – the senior players taking responsibility. But am I the only one who has noted that the late, great Peter Sellers seems to have been a participant too?

    “I can walk!!!”

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  25. Feel like it is a touch ridiculous that it has to get to the stage where we’re eight points off the top with nine games left and having to organize a covert meeting away from all the people that should be telling them how to get out of this mess, before the team are prepared to talk to each other frankly about the mistakes made and how to improve performances.

    It, at the same time, probably explains why there were so many passive performances against United. Strange… strange

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  26. Lolcott needs to STFU

    I’m pretty sure we hear about this crisis meetings every season. You would think the players would learn by now but it tells you that something is not right with the club.
    Actions speak louder than words and the players have let the fan downs this season!

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  27. Really disappointed in Walcott for going public with this. You would think the whole point of having a ‘behind closed doors’ meeting was to keep it behind closed doors, yet Walcott had to open that mouth of his.
    It sort of feels like some blame was put at his feet, and him coming out to mention this meeting was a way of saying ‘see I’ve accepted the blame, and proven you wrong by scoring 2 goals’.
    What I continuously fail to understand about him is why he doesn’t get more angry. The level of application and desire that he had against Manure (at home) was on point. Yet time and time again he cannot replicate it.
    The sign of a top level player is not going through a major purple patch, it is not even actually how you respond to that purple patch. The sign of a top level player is simply that hard work is the default setting. Look at Suarez. Look at Sanchez. Look at Messi (still works fairly hard for the team – especially when he’s not up front). Perhaps the only exception is Ronaldo, but at United Ronaldo was forced to work hard until his last season. Even at Real, under Ancelotti he did work a lot harder than he is given credit for.
    The lack of care Walcott seems to have for tracking back, or actually focussing and paying attention during matches is outrageous.
    There is a class player in there somewhere, I think he just needs a slap before every game to come out.

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  28. Also, surely they could have pre-empted the yearly crisis meeting by having a meeting after the Leicester game.
    Surely they would have been able to motivate themselves and each other more after that win. You know, when we actually had a chance of winning this damn thing.

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  29. Your article today about Walcott not having to share this type of information, is something that I have been saying for some time.

    For years now, the players say we can win this, we won’t crack under pressure, blah blah blah. Then the following game, everything bad happens.

    That includes Giroud last year right before the Monaco game.

    Please pray.

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