Many critics predicted doom and gloom for the Gunners when Henry moved to Barcelona in the summer.

But Fabregas reckons Arsene Wenger's side are top of the Premier League because the younger players have finally stepped out of their ex-skipper's shadow.

And Gallas agrees that Henry's departure has given his team-mates the chance to make their mark.

He told The Sun : "Thierry leaving has definitely led the young players to take on more responsibility.

"You can see it in Robin Van Persie and Emmanuel Adebayor particularly.

"When Thierry was here we played more for him, which was normal given his talent.

"The fact he has gone has forced other players to accept more responsibilities.

"Having learned a lot by playing alongside Thierry, they are showing their ability now."