By Chris Harris

William Gallas is back to his best, according to Arsène Wenger.

The French defender was replaced as Arsenal captain in November but he has emerged from a turbulent spell with great credit. Gallas has made his mark at both ends of the pitch, scoring a vital winner against Portsmouth in December, while helping to stiffen a back four which has conceded just three times in the last eight games.

The 31-year-old kept the in-form Carlton Cole quiet when West Ham visited Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago and was probably the outstanding player on the pitch when Arsenal’s ten men kept Tottenham at bay in last Sunday's North London derby.

Wenger may have taken the captain's armband from Gallas but he remains a big fan of his fellow Frenchman.

"Yes, he is playing well," said the manager.

"I have said many times that after a major incident he has responded like a real professional and has dealt well with the situation and that is what we want."

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 13 Feb 2009