By Richard Clarke

Last season, it would have been difficult to imagine Gilberto not starting in the Arsenal side. Aside from his combative midfield duties, the Brazilian also took on the captaincy and the penalty-taking in a challenging campaign.

This term, he has found himself out of the side. His spell at the Copa America saw him report back to training later than the rest of the squad and consequently he missed much of pre-season training. Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini started the campaign as the central midfield pair and, given Arsenal's record of nine wins and a draw from their first 10 games, have been virtually undroppable. Meanwhile Tuesday's victory over Newcastle showed the potential of Denilson and new signing Lassana Diarra.
 
Wenger's is aware of Gilberto's disappointment.

"Yes I can understand that," he said. "But it's not that you can chat with the guy that he is not disappointed anymore, it's all part of competition.

"Gilberto is an outstanding player - mentally and morally fantastic - but he accepts competition. I think he is a very good centre back but as well it is down to the balance of the team.
 
"I feel at the moment Flamini is playing extremely well. Diarra and Denilson are doing well too. There is tremendous competition, you cannot stop that, but that doesn't take anything away from what Gilberto does, or has done."

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Richard Clarke 28 Sep 2007