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Page last updated at 09:19 GMT, Friday, 21 November 2008

Gallas launches Arsenal outburst

William Gallas
Gallas says Arsenal's dressing room is becoming increasingly fractious

Arsenal captain William Gallas has criticised his team-mates and called into question their courage to challenge for the Premier League title.

"We are not brave enough in battle. I think we need to be soldiers. To be champions, you have to play big matches every weekend and fight," said Gallas.

Gallas, 31, also accused an unnamed player of disrupting team morale.

Arsenal have yet to comment on Gallas's extraordinary outburst but his position as skipper will again be scrutinised.

"We would think that by now Arsene Wenger would know the kind of person he wants as captain," former England boss Graham Taylor told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"And if it isn't working for him, make those changes. He knows his players better than any of us. He knows what he is looking for as a leader as a captain.

"If he feels that Gallas isn't doing that then I think he is wrong if he continues with him."

Saturday's 2-0 defeat by Aston Villa made it four losses in total this term for Arsenal, leaving them nine points adrift of Chelsea and Liverpool.

Speaking to the Associated Press, Gallas added: "We are coming up against teams who are not scared to play football against us, who are not scared to take us on at our place, and this is becoming dangerous for Arsenal.

"We have to be warriors. That is how the team will forge their character and experience."

Frenchman Gallas has come under severe personal scrutiny as Arsenal skipper, most recently receiving criticism after being photographed leaving a nightclub with a cigarette in his mouth.

And he was also barracked following a show of petulance at the end of his side's 2-2 draw with Birmingham City last season - and he has admitted friction is creeping into the Arsenal camp.

"There was a problem at half-time of the 4-4 draw with Tottenham," he said. "The only thing that I could say at half-time was 'guys, we resolve these problems after the match, not at halftime'."

Gallas revealed that on another occasion some Arsenal players had been insulted by their own team-mate.

"When as captain some players come up to you and talk to you about a player... complaining about him... and then during the match you speak to this player and the player in question insults us, there comes a time where we can no longer comprehend how this can happen," he said.

Gallas would not reveal the player's name, although he said the incident occurred during an attacking phase of play, saying: "I am trying to defend myself a bit without giving names. Otherwise I'm taking it all (the blame). I'm 31, the player is six years younger than me."

There are three players currently playing in the Arsenal squad aged 25 - Robin van Persie, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Eboue.

In addition, in his autobiography - published on Friday - Gallas revealed that the France team has also suffered from in-house disputes in recent times, adding he argued with a national midfielder identified only as "S".

Still, the centre-half believes Arsenal can still challenge for honours this season, though he added another season without silverware "would be a kind of failure".

"I have to win something this year. I have to win something, Arsenal has to win something. It's four or five years since Arsenal won anything - 2004 (the league title). That's nearly five years, and that's not good.

"(Big contracts) make the difference, perhaps. You can rest on your laurels, that's for sure."

Arsenal travel to Manchester City in the league on Saturday hoping to avoid their first back-to-back defeats in 58 Premier League encounters.

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see also
Walcott ruled out after surgery
20 Nov 08 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa
15 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Wenger concerned by Gallas photo
24 Oct 08 |  Arsenal
Gallas retains Arsenal captaincy
01 Aug 08 |  Arsenal
Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham
29 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Impatient fans disappoint Wenger
23 Oct 08 |  Arsenal
Birmingham 2-2 Arsenal
23 Feb 08 |  Premier League

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