Theo Walcott has admitted to a falling out between Alexis Sanchez and the Arsenal squad over the last few weeks.
Walcott was part of the Arsenal side that lost 5-1 against Bayern Munich at home on Tuesday night, confirming a humiliating 10-2 aggregate exit in the Champions League last-16.
The build-up to the game was marred by stories emanating from Arsenal regarding Sanchez’s attitude, which manager Arsene Wenger denied publicly.
Alexis Sanchez’s relationship with Arsenal’s staff and team-mates has become strained
Theo Walcott confirmed stories suggesting Sanchez had had a falling out with his team
Sportsmail understands Sanchez berated team-mates after losing the away leg to Bayern, walked out of a training session and has grown increasingly distant from the rest of the squad.
These issues were further compounded when he was dropped to the bench for the game against Liverpool. Sanchez started against Bayern but could not help his side avoid defeat.
And Walcott – who scored Arsenal’s only goal at the Emirates – confirmed the issues, while trying to clarify that it was probably normal at most clubs.
Speaking to the Evening Standard’s James Olley, Walcott said: ‘Things get taken out of proportion — we all know this,’ said Walcott. ‘There are certain things that happen at training grounds.
Sanchez was part of Arsenal’s humiliating 5-1 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich
‘I’m sure it happens at every other training ground, most of the time, really.
‘You don’t see it often at Arsenal. Things have happened. They need to stay in the dressing room and the players and staff need to sort it out. We are in it together here. We can’t be fighting each other.
‘I don’t really want to go into it but the stuff that has gone on did not affect our first half here. At certain times when things don’t go well, you don’t want to have anything in your head that you are giving up.
‘The 5-1 scoreline looks like we have given up but we haven’t. It just looks like that. That’s the disappointing thing because we know as players we don’t give up.’
Walcott admitted that ‘things have happened’ behind the scenes at the north London side
Arsenal still have an opportunity to win the FA Cup this season, if they can get past non-league Lincoln in the quarter-final.
Walcott suggested it was important for the players to clear their heads after the thrashing and move onto the task ahead.
‘We hurt every day. It could stay in a lot of players’ heads for a long time but we need to make sure it doesn’t because in the league, it is very tight and we have Lincoln at the weekend. We are obviously favourites for that game and it is a good opportunity to go to Wembley.
The English forward admitted Arsenal’s players could not fight each other amid their crisis
‘We need to think of the positives now. We have a great team and we can’t forget that. Some of the players will be beating themselves up and doubting themselves but that’s the worst thing we could do at this moment in time when things are going badly.
‘We are playing for Arsenal, one of the biggest clubs in the world. It is as simple as that.’
Arsenal take on Lincoln City in the FA Cup quarter-final on Saturday.