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Demoted Gallas misses trip to Manchester

Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has replaced William Gallas as captain against Manchester City at Eastlands. Gallas did not travel with the rest of the squad after making critical comments about the team in midweek.

The France defender questioned their fighting spirit and also spoke of squabbling behind the scenes. It is understood he was omitted from the team.

Gallas was not on the team coach which departed north London and has paid a high price for his outspoken comments.

The 31-year-old blew the lid on rifts in the Gunners dressing room, a blazing row during the interval of the 4-4 draw with rivals Tottenham and a problem with an unnamed 25-year-old team-mate unsettling the squad - putting one of Robin van Persie, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Eboue in the frame - with the Dutchman as clear favourite.

Manuel Almunia or Gael Clichy were the choices to take the armband, as Cesc Fabregas is suspended and Kolo Toure injured. Wenger plumped for the Spanish keeper making his 100th Arsenal appearance.

The centre-back`s career at the club is now in doubt. Gallas has been quoted in London's Evening Standard as being open to an eventual return to France for the final stages of his career, which adds fuel to questions of his long-term commitment to Arsenal.

He said: "It's true that I'd like to return to France for one or perhaps two seasons to finish my career."

Gallas has caused a stir in France as well this week with his autobiography.

In that he talks of unrest in the France camp during their disastrous Euro 2008 finals, singling out a player, believed to be current Arsenal team-mate Samir Nasri, who he felt was disrespecting older members of the squad.

He did not name Nasri but said: "I was also 20 years old once. I would never have allowed myself to speak in this tone to a footballer who was older than me." Nasri was the only squad member of that age.


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