By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger believes William Gallas deserves huge credit for the way he bounced back from his low points as Arsenal captain.

The French defender is expected to line up against Birmingham City on Saturday, a fixture which will spark memories of a tumultuous 2-2 draw between the teams in February 2008.

That game started with an horrific injury to Eduardo and ended with Gallas losing his temper after a late penalty earned 10-man Birmingham a point. The fall-out was considerable and speculation raged over the defender’s future at Emirates Stadium, but Gallas stayed put and has rediscovered his best form.

Wenger never wanted his compatriot to sever his ties with Arsenal - but he was not sure Gallas felt the same after his St. Andrews nadir.

“Frankly I don’t know [if he wanted to leave],” said Wenger.

“Only he knows because he never told me he wants to leave the Club. But I never wanted to lose him.

“I didn’t know how he would react to the situation but I think he deserves a lot of credit for the way he responded.

“He is today a better player and he is today the vice-captain of the French national team, so the decision to make him captain was maybe not too bad.”

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16 Oct 2009