Wenger apologises for Gallas horror tackle

Arsene Wenger has apologised for William Gallas' X-rated tackle in last night's 4-2 win over Bolton which put Arsenal top of the Barclays Premier League - but maintains his young side have again shown the strength needed to sustain their title challenge.

Owen Coyle's men - beaten 2-0 by the Gunners on Sunday - took a shock lead at the Emirates Stadium after seven minutes through Gary Cahill and Matthew Taylor then doubled the advantage from the penalty spot.

However, Arsenal rallied before half-time through Tomas Rosicky's strike.

Captain Cesc Fabregas netted a controversial equaliser on 52 minutes after Gallas had appeared to foul Mark Davies in the build-up, the midfielder left with a suspected broken ankle, and then Thomas Vermaelen completed the comeback.

Andrey Arshavin scored a fourth to take the Gunners above Chelsea on goals scored, albeit having now played a match more - but nevertheless a scenario which looked so unlikely following a resounding 3-0 home defeat by the Blues at the end of November which left Arsenal some 11 points adrift.

Wenger said: "Our mental and physical strength was tested again. We are certainly much more physically resistant.

"You cannot find a team better than Bolton in doing what they did tonight - they marked us man to man, didn't give us an inch of space. Physically, you are never better tested than against Bolton."

Gallas caught Davies on the ankle as the pair went for a 50/50 ball, but play was allowed to continue despite the Bolton protests as their man lay on the ground.

Arshavin battled to the edge of the area, where possession broke to Fabregas and he charged into the box before slipping a low angled drive through the keeper's legs.

There was a delay as Davies finally received treatment, and eventually had to be taken off on a stretcher, replaced by Gavin McCann.

The midfielder will have X-rays to determine the extent of the damage.

Wenger said: "I am sorry if the tackle was not good, and I apologise.

"However, to complain that we went on to play, I think that is unfair.

"The players did not even know what was happening behind them, whether the player has got up again or not.

"I don't believe you can kick the ball out every time a player is down when you win the ball. That is why they changed the rules.

"Remember (against) Everton, I did not think they should have kicked the ball out and it was a much more obvious situation because Denilson went down, they got the ball and might have gone 3-1 up.

"I said after the game that it was okay."

Wenger added: "We got some tackles, some big ones, but we had to cope with it.

"I am sorry if it is a foul, but it didn't look dirty from outside."

Coyle, however, was less than impressed by Gallas' challenge.

"The second goal was the big turning point," said Coyle, recently appointed after leaving Burnley.

"Clearly it was a foul, and closer to a red card. It was akin to assault and it changed the game.

"However, the fact is the referee has not seen it, and the lad is prostrate on the ground, and Arsenal being full of fair play as we keep hearing, have carried on scored an equaliser. That is hard to take.

"I don't want to sit here and make excuses, but I have seen red cards for less."

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice