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Nov 21, 2008

Gallas not fit to be captain

Shows of remarkable petulance, late-night behaviour far from fitting for the captain of a major Premier League club and now open criticism of his team-mates. What more does William Gallas have to do to rid himself of the Arsenal captaincy?

The 31-year-old now has a litany of previous and cannot be allowed to wear the armband at Arsenal any longer. But Arsene Wenger should have seen this coming long before it happened. And it's far from certain he'll actually take action.

It's bemusing to think what made Gallas captain material in the first place. This is a player who spent almost his entire five-year Chelsea career moaning about being played out of position at full-back. Now he gets to play in the centre of defence but moans that he never wins any silverware and that his team-mates lack the bottle for the fight. It seems the grass is always greener for Billy.

It's almost nine months to the day since that fateful day at St Andrews when Arsenal surrendered a two-goal lead to Birmingham City and Gallas sulked in the opposite half of the pitch as James McFadden fired home an injury time spot-kick. Where was the leadership? How can anyone be shocked that this Arsenal side has lost any form of camaraderie when the figurehead is a lone ranger, a personal crusader only interested in number one?

A few weeks ago Gallas was fined two weeks wages after being pictured leaving a nightclub, cigarette in mouth. It was not lit and there is no evidence he inhaled but the images of a professional sportsman, idolised and copied by young fans in north London, in such a pose as club captain is totally unacceptable.

Had he proven on the pitch he's a worthy role model such an image may not have caused a stir. But he has now become detrimental to Arsenal's cause and the comments made in the French press - no doubt he will claim he was misquoted - will hardly knit together a fractured squad low on confidence having already lost to Stoke, Hull, Fulham and Aston Villa this term.

And he has previous, having openly criticised Theo Walcott this season too. The club captain should be providing solutions. Instead he is the epitome of everything that is wrong with Arsenal Football Club today.

Of course, Wenger has to find a player suitable of wearing the armband. That is easier said that done because Wenger has moulded a talented side with no leadership or backbone. There isn't a single stand-out candidate to replace Gallas but Wenger has to act now and dump him ahead of the trip to Manchester City.

Standing by Gallas will send out a crushing message to those criticised by the player, both directly and indirectly. Arsenal used to be winners, now they no longer have a team.

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