Walcott bemoans lack of belief at Arsenal
Theo Walcott believes Arsenal's players need to show more faith in their abilities, and urged his team-mates to start rewarding the loyalty of boss Arsene Wenger with improved performances on the pitch.
The Gunners have stumbled to successive Premier League defeats to Manchester City and Chelsea, with Wenger recognising that such results are heavily impacting on the club's chances of reaching the Champions League for a 16th year in a row.
Arsenal are currently seven points behind fourth-placed Tottenham but can close the gap on their rivals with victory over West Ham on Wednesday.
And Walcott, who penned a bumper new deal to stay at Emirates Stadium last week, feels it is time for the Gunners to start performing like a team in the upper echelons of the Premier League.
"I think there's a lack of belief as to how good we can be," Walcott said. "We've got some very, very good players here. I think players don't believe they are good enough at times. But, trust me, I see them every day in training and they should believe that.
"We've got a great bunch here, a great manager and he always puts it upon himself which is hard because we are the players out there every week. We try to win for him: we need to win for him because he's been very helpful for us young players coming through.
"We need to start realising how good we are. We showed some great stuff in the second half at Chelsea, but it's time we did that from the start. In that first half we were too slow, too sloppy closing down and we've got to show more commitment."
Despite Arsenal sitting out of the Champions League qualification spots at present, Walcott is confident that he and his team-mates will be competing in Europe's premier club competition again next season.
"Last year, we were so many points behind no one ever thought we would make it," he said. "We've got a game in hand but we need to clock up these points fast. The gap doesn't worry us. We hope they do drop points.
"But we've got to concentrate on ourselves, win games and we've got a big game on Wednesday when we have to pick ourselves up. We are ready, it's our game in hand, we have to get three points and, no disrespect to West Ham, we should win that game."