Gallas the real leader at Arsenal says Almunia

Manuel Almunia believes William Gallas is still the real leader of Arsenal despite having been stripped of the captaincy.

Almunia is currently in possession of the armband after Cesc Fabregas picked up a long-term injury.

Yet he insists the inspiration still comes from Gallas and cites the manner in which Arsenal players celebrated Gallas' winning goal against Portsmouth as evidence that there are no lingering problems over the French defender's controversial autobiography in which he questioned his team-mates' bravery and accused one Arsenal player of disrupting morale.

Almunia said: "William is a very good professional. When he was captain he would fight for the team, in every aspect.

"He is a real winner and has a strong character. But we are on William's side - everyone supports him. I have a very good relationship with him and I was very happy for him to score.

"He has shown that he is an unbelievable professional. He is a player with more trophies than anyone else in the team - everyone has to respect that.

"He knows how to get success. Even though he is not the captain we follow him. I play with so much confidence when William is playing in front of me. He has won the World Cup and I have so much respect for him."

Wenger has confirmed he does not want to sell in the January transfer window so at 31 Gallas could have a crucial role in the Gunners' quest to get back into the title race.

Arsenal trail league leaders Liverpool by 10 points and long-term injuries to players such as Theo Walcott, Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky have disrupted their season.

Yet Almunia believes it is the steely identity which saw Arsenal win so many trophies with the likes of Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry which is still missing.

Almunia said: "We have shown good character, but we still have a little more to go to find the real Arsenal.

"The main thing is to look for our identity, our way, our character that gave this club all their titles and trophies.

"For whatever reason we lost our way, our character and the way we play on the pitch. We need to re-find our spirit and our desire to win games."

The form of Gallas could be key, especially now he seems to be rediscovering his love for the club without the stripes of responsibility.

Almunia added: "Maybe he lost some energy when he was captain. He took responsibility for the pressure felt by all the players. William took too many responsibilities and tried to be the main player on the pitch.

"I think he is playing better than before. I spoke to him last week and he told me that now he is playing better because he is not losing too much energy because he is not worried about other things and other players or other circumstances off the pitch."

News
peopleChildren leave in tears as Santa is caught smoking and drinking
Arts and Entertainment
A host of big name acts recorded 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' in London on Saturday
musicCharity single tops chart
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall has become the eighth celebrity to leave Strictly Come Dancing
tv
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
News
i100
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Sport
Dwight Gayle (left) celebrates making it 1-1 with Crystal Palace captain Mile Jedinak
premier leagueReds falter to humbling defeat
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin