By Richard Clarke in Rome

Leadership has been a major theme of Arsenal’s season.

William Gallas started the campaign with the armband then Cesc Fabregas took it over only to suffer a long-term injury shortly afterwards. Since mid-December, Wenger has spread the captaincy around the side and it has brought results - Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 17 games.

With that in mind, it was no surprise to hear the manager extolling the virtues of his communal policy ahead of one of its biggest tests – the Champions League Knockout Round second leg at Roma.

"It's a night for the team to stand up, more than any individual,” he said.

"I believe in a shared leadership and we have many leaders. I have given the captaincy to eight or nine players because I believe in that more than in one leader sorting everything out.

"The most important thing for me always is team spirit. This side has developed together and gelled well in the last three months. Under extreme pressure, we have resisted very well and have grown slowly from strength to strength. That makes me more positive.

"At the start of this season, the hangover from last season was still there but since November things have changed. We can grind out results more and this game is a good opportunity to show that.

"What will be important from now until the end of the season is the size of the desire to achieve something. I feel that is there in this team. Adding more quality with the players coming back will give us more chance but the core of the strength is to have that team spirit and the extreme desire to show we have quality.”

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11 Mar 2009