Vieira will excel with Gilberto alongside him
Vieira is a midfield gladiator who has to roam to be at his best. But it is apparent to Vieira watchers that he is only at his roaming best when the quiet Brazilian interceptor named Gilberto is alongside him.
Last week's game against Boro saw the reunion of Gilberto and Vieira for the first time this season. No one picked up on this. But this was the day Vieira had dreamed all season.
Vieira has been burdened looking after the youngsters Francesc and Mathieu in the tough world of premiership and champs league football. He has inhibited his game so to cover for any rookie mistakes from his young midfield companions.
Vieira is much more comfortable when not given the job of primary defence protector. He revelled when Manu Petit was alongside him. Ditto the underrated Gilles Grimandi. Now he longs to play next to Gilberto.
Gilberto has powerful body-language, his mere presence reassuring all of Arsenal's players- and Vieira in particular- by saying: I'll take care of you if you lose the ball.
Henry is out today. So look for Patrick Vieira to put on his most attacking performance of the season against the hard-men of Blackburn. The marauder will be at his marauding best because he will know that Gilberto has his back should he lose the ball far up the pitch.
Gilberto has an afro these days. Give him a headband and he will be the coolest looking player in football.
When he was signed by Arsene I heard a Brazilian journalist talk about Gilberto's character. He said that Gilberto was from a humble region in Brazil who favoured action over talk. He said that Gilberto was the only member of the Brazilian squad who did not talk about winning the competition.
He then said that Gilberto had a selfless heart.
I listened to this character reference and I knew that Arsene had signed someone special. Someone who not only has high-quality talent, but also high-quality character.
In his two and a half seasons at Arsenal I have not seen him commit a bad tackle; not seen him square up to an opposition player; not seen him snarl nor swear.
Gilberto is a true role-model.
His absence this season has shown all Arsenal staff and supporters that he is a core component of the Arsenal machine. And now he is back, that machine will function with greater stability; in particular the rolls royce engine belonging to Vieira.
Watch-out for a full-on Vieira show this lunchtime.