Arsene Wenger has picked a succession of French captains since he joined Arsenal.
When Tony Adams retired, warrior Patrick Vieira was the natural replacement, followed by Thierry Henry the talisman and then William Gallas the….
I can’t really think of the right word to describe Gallas’ style on the pitch. A lot of the time he plays as he acts off it – and having met him a couple of times, I can tell you, he’s pretty laid back and enjoyed the odd cigarette in this health-conscious age we live in.
Gallas scored the goal that beat Ch*vski last season; he scored the goal that set us on our way against FC Twente a couple of weeks ago and yet…
When Manu Adebayor joined Arsenal, a raw but talented young forward, I remember how he ran for every ball, determined to win the hearts of those who wondered whether he was fit to share a pitch with Henry.
Two moments stick out – the pass to Henry which prompted our equaliser at Highbury and subsequently led to our accession to the Champions League; and the goal at Old Trafford last season after working tirelessly on his own for almost 90 minutes.
And so too with Gallas, whose running and chasing to prove he was not just a Ch*vski reject made most of us think we had a real bargain on our hands.
But what do both players have in common? Both of them, acting as if they have done what they need to deserve a regular place and the adoration of the fans, appear to be resting on their laurels.
Arsene Wenger could well get away with dropping both of them for tomorrow’s Champions League match and say that he was resting them for the Newcastle game – and at the same time send out a message to them that they have no divine right to remain in the side.
Even on ArsenalTV after the game, when asked whether he would do his captain's job in the days ahead, Gallas seemed not to think it was his responsibility: "Everybody knows what they have to do...they have experience and they have one more year. Everybody knows what he has to do on the pitch." Hardly a rallying cry.
Lee Dixon, who must go down as one of our truly great servants, said it all when he commented:"It was the worst performance I've seen from an Arsenal team in a long time.
"Tony Adams was sitting just behind me and I said to him, 'Where's the leadership?' I blame the captain for that. I reckon Gallas is to blame. He's not leading that team."
We all know that Gallas is not captain material and if Cesc Fabregas is fit tomorrow, it’s the perfect time to give him the armband. How many times has Cesc scored for Arsenal and contorted his face in the way any of us would do at achieving something so monumental?
But will Arsene be brave enough to drop Gallas and made the drastic changes to personnel that we so clearly and desperately need?
No, I don't think so either.