Theo Walcott: It's up to players to ease pressure on Arsene Wenger

Theo Walcott has called on his Arsenal team-mates to ease the mounting pressure on manager Arsene Wenger and wants to see an end to any disharmony in the ranks.

The Gunners were left humbled and humiliated once again as Bayern Munich ran up a 5-1 win at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday night to secure a resounding 10-2 aggregate victory in their Champions League round of 16 clash.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side well beaten by Bayern Munich

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger saw his side well beaten by Bayern Munich

Walcott's first-half strike gave the hosts a glimmer of hope before Laurent Koscielny was sent off for bringing down Robert Lewandowski in the box.

The Poland striker tucked away the resulting penalty before Arsenal imploded, conceding another four goals in the space of just 17 minutes as strikes from Arjen Robben, Douglas Costa and an Arturo Vidal brace saw Arsenal's night end in farce.

The result came against a backdrop of supporter unrest following a protest march to the stadium before kick-off, in which some 200 fans chanted and held banners calling for Wenger to leave.

A wretched run of five defeats in their last seven games has left Wenger under intense pressure and the 67-year-old is still yet to decide whether to extend his stay beyond the end of the season.

But Walcott, who also had strong claims for a penalty turned down with Arsenal leading 1-0, now wants a reaction from the players to show unity towards their manager - even though he admits they are still in the dark over Wenger's plans.

"The manager is focused on us," he told the Evening Standard.

"You can see how passionate he is with us from the way he talks to us in the meetings.

"He will take this on himself but us players need to look at ourselves. The manager has been taking a lot of flak in recent weeks and us players have been accepting it but we can't.

"We need to take the pressure off the manager and that will happen by performances. Who knows what the manager will do? Players just want to play football for this club and do well for the manager."

Most of the focus in the build-up to the Bayern game focused on reports of a training ground bust-up between Alexis Sanchez and his Arsenal team-mates.

The Chile forward was dropped to the bench for Saturday's loss at Liverpool but, with Wenger refuting claims of a falling out and maintaining the decision was taken for tactical reasons, Sanchez was reinstated to the side against the Bundesliga champions.

He could not inspire a record-breaking comeback and was hauled off in the closing stages with Walcott now calling on the squad to remain united in the coming weeks.

"You don't see it often at Arsenal, things have happened," he said.

"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...

"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. We hurt every day."

While Arsenal now face an FA Cup sixth-round meeting against non-league Lincoln on Saturday in a match they simply must win, Bayern advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were slow-starting on Tuesday night and defender Mats Hummels was not happy with the first-half display.

"The result doesn't reflect what happened until the penalty and the sending-off. It decided the match in our favour," he said.

"Our display up to that point was a bit off-colour, we were more or less content to contain our opponents even though our plans had been different. It's understandable, but it shouldn't happen.

"We had some chances to score in the first half, to instil some calm. But we failed to put the chances away. We've ultimately deserved to go through, no question."

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