Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas says Thierry Henry's departure has given the team the freedom to play without fear.
Fabregas has been in inspirational for the Gunners this season
The Gunners were tipped to struggle after striker Henry's exit to Barcelona but they are top of the Premier League.
"Henry intimidated us," 20-year-old Fabregas told the Daily Mail. "He is a great player but it was not easy to play alongside him.
"We were a bit inhibited by him - dependent on everything he wanted to do and his demands. Now it is different."
Fabregas has been in inspirational form for the Gunners so far this season and has already scored six goals in nine games.
He was again on the mark as he grabbed a goal in helping his side to thrashing Derby 5-0 and he insisted the doom merchants only served to galvanise Arsenal when Henry left.
"Everyone was saying that this year without Henry we would be nowhere and that has motivated everyone."