By Declan Taylor

Gael Clichy hopes that William Gallas is able to return to top form despite losing the Arsenal captaincy.

The 31-year-old was originally handed the armband following the departure of Thierry Henry in 2007 but, in the wake of his quotes in the media last week, Arsène Wenger has brought in Cesc Fabregas as a replacement.
Speaking ahead of Tuesday's clash with Dynamo Kyiv, Clichy was full of support for his compatriot, certain that his quality will shine through.

"He has been sensational for us and I really hope he can play his best football now," said the left back at Monday's pre-match press conference. "Like everyone, I think that he is a great player and he made some good games for us.

"I think it is really unlucky what happened with William and I want to say I respect him. What happened has happened. Maybe some people will say he shouldn't have said those things but I'm happy for him that he is playing again and I'm sure we can do great things together."

Gallas' brief tenure as captain bore no silverware for Arsenal but Clichy does not think that the former Chelsea stopper can be blamed for that.

"Last year wasn't great because we didn't win anything but for seven months we were on top and William didn't get any critics then," he went on.

"Since one game and one moment, things changed. That was when the media tried to get people to think William was not good enough."

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24 Nov 2008