By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger insists his faith in Denilson has been vindicated this season - even if the media don't agree.

The departures of Mathieu Flamini, Gilberto and Lassana Diarra last year saw the Brazilian midfielder move up the central midfield pecking order at Emirates Stadium and he has started 29 of Arsenal's 34 fixtures in all competitions this season, a tally only keeper Manuel Almunia can match.

Denilson has weighed in with three goals and a handful of assists but has yet to win over some sections of the Arsenal crowd and most sections of the press. That disappoints Wenger, who remains one of the 20-year-old's biggest fans.

"I am surprised by two things - by how well he has done and how little credit he gets from the media," said Wenger at his pre-match press conference.

"I don't think many people have gone down and deeply analysed his game. If you analyse it a little bit in a deeper way, that means the ground he covers, how much ball he wins, how quickly he passes the ball, where his balls go, you will be quite surprised.

"But he is a player who doesn't attract too much limelight because he is discreet, doesn't talk and does his job. That's what I prefer.

"He's a very hungry player and he is 20 years old, plays every game under a lot of pressure and I have never seen him in one training session be a little bit within himself. He always gives you 100 per cent."

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23 Jan 2009