By Richard Clarke

The contribution of Gilberto can be easily overlooked. That is no slight on the Brazilian midfielder. It is just that, in the past, he has been the type of player you only notice when he is not there.

Arsène Wenger argues that temporarily taking over the captaincy from Thierry Henry has finally helped the 30-year-old get the recognition he deserves. His performance at Watford on Boxing Day was typical. A minute before Gilberto headed home the opener, he was snuffing out Ashley Young's shot at the other end.

"He is unbelievable," said Wenger after the Vicarage Road victory. "He dictated the game in the middle of the park and now he is slowly getting the credit he deserves.

"He is a guy who is intelligent and always plays one or two touch. When he does not have the armband you don't see that.

"Our first alert came when he was out injured for some months. We had a problem to win games but when he came back we won again. Now everybody is realising how important he is for us."

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Richard Clarke 27 Dec 2006