A lack of self-belief is stopping Arsenal from fulfilling their potential, according to Theo Walcott.

The 23-year-old was on target at Stamford Bridge on Sunday but Arsène Wenger's side slipped to a 2-1 defeat against Chelsea thanks largely to a below-par first-half display.

Wenger has urged his team to show more "authority" in big games and Walcott agrees that confidence has been an issue - despite the obvious talent in Arsenal's squad.

"I think that’s what it is," he said. "We’ve got some very good players at this club. I think players are maybe not believing they are good enough. Trust me, I see them every day in training and they should believe that.

"We’ve got a great bunch here and we’ve got a great manager behind us. He always puts it on himself and at times it’s unfair on him, because we’re the players that go out there every week and try and win for him.

"We need to do it for him because he’s been very helpful for us young players coming through."

Arsenal are currently seven points behind fourth-place Tottenham in the chase for a Champions League place but can almost halve that deficit when they welcome West Ham United to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday. Walcott is confident that Arsenal can reel in their local rivals.

"Last year we were so many points behind that no one never thought we would get there," he said.

"We’ve got a game in hand but we need to clock up these points fast. Teams get better every year. We don’t want to be standing still. We need to make sure that we’re right up there at the end of the season.

"Champions League football and competing [for honours] means a lot. It’s one of the main [reasons] why I signed because I feel we should be there. I still think we will. We’ll be fine.

"We just need to not worry about that [the gap to fourth place]. We hope that Tottenham do drop points but we’ve got to concentrate on ourselves. We’ve got a big game on Wednesday and we need to pick up all the lads.

"It’s our game in hand and we need to make sure that we get three points. No disrespect to West Ham but we should be winning that."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Chris Harris 21 Jan 2013