Arsenal's post-Invincible era had a team but no natural leader. Now, there is one obvious man to lead them to the title ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool & Manchester City.
Arsene Wenger's past Arsenal teams, after the dismantling of the memorable Invincibles, attracted praise for their technical ability but also censure for an apparent lack of on-pitch leadership.
From Per Mertesacker's fist-pumping, Mikel Arteta's maturity and academy product Jack Wilshere's form, Arsene Wenger now has a number of players the entire squad can turn to in order for inspiration.
However, the one man who typifies Arsenal's new fight, the sweaty scrapper who covers almost every blade of grass in an attempt to retrieve possession, is the very man who has the influence to guide Arsenal to Premier League title glory - their first since the unbeatable Gunners of 2004.
Though he has twice been bought by Wenger, that man has never even cost Arsenal a penny, but he is effectively proving to be priceless.
That man is Mathieu Flamini.
It is one thing to talk the talk - and Flamini, 29, does that remarkably well: 'We have to fight for every point, we have to fight for every goal so it's not easy but once again the team demonstrated great character, fighting spirit and a tough togetherness that is very important,' he said on the club's official website.
But he also walks the walk.
When the camera lenses are busy tracking the runs of Theo Walcott, the chewing-gum trickery of club record acquisition Mesut Ozil, the dazzling dribbling from fan favourite Jack Wilshere or the sensational box-to-boxing of Aaron Ramsey, there is one man - off camera - doing a Tony Adams… shouting at his team-mates, barking orders, organising the defence behind him and the midfield around him.
Again, that man is Mathieu Flamini.
Of course, the Frenchman is not just present for his noise. Flamini has been a revelation for Wenger, more so than Ozil, as he has completed 92% of his passes, completed 23 tackles, 20 interceptions and 29 clearances, all from 899 minutes of Premier League football.
For Arsenal to continue setting the pace at the head of the division, all the way through to the campaign's end and collect that elusive title, they need a player to stand-up and be counted, to inspire, to lead…
That man in is Mathieu Flamini.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald