Wenger reflects on 1,001 reasons to be cheerful

Arsenal 4 Bolton Wanderers 1

There was, arguably, no better way to celebrate the 1,000th league goal scored by Arsenal under Arsène Wenger than by starting the second thousand in style.

Shortly after the industrious Alexandre Song's landmark strike put Arsenal into a decisive 3-1 lead on Saturday, Cesc Fabregas crowned a move of more than 20 passes with a pinpoint-through ball that allowed Carlos Vela to set the seal on a 4-1 victory.

The finish would not have disgraced Arsenal goalscorers that have gone before, such as Ian Wright – the scorer of the first goal of Wenger's reign, back in 1996 – Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and the rest.

But perhaps the quality of the goals is less significant than their quantity. Wenger reached four figures in only 528 games, the previous thousand taking 683, which reveals the upheaval in Arsenal culture created by the arrival at Highbury from Japan of the man dubbed "Arsène Who?" by one tabloid.

"The club didn't talk to me about changing the style, they wanted me to do a good job and that's what I tried to do," Wenger said. "We have players who are offensively gifted, talented and we have a collective game that can be played at a high pace so we can create goals and chances. That's what we work on on the training pitch.

"The important [goals] you remember, the spectacular ones, like Dennis Bergkamp at Newcastle or Thierry Henry against Tottenham or Liverpool, but you have as well the little ones that get you a 1-0."

That scoreline, Arsenal's trademark under George Graham, is now a fallback position rather than a target. But Wenger admitted that style without the substance of victory leads to frustration, which has grown over five seasons without a trophy.

"I think the Arsenal fans want to win and be entertained," he said. "But of course when you do not manage to win with style, you still want to win. But I think both go together.

"That's what the challenge is for us now. This season is an important one because we have to show we can win with massive competitors – Man City, Man United, Tottenham, Chelsea. It will be very difficult, but I believe we have our word to say. You need a stable defence, but I'm confident because we have come out of two games against Blackburn and Bolton with six points."

Those successive victories over teams whose physical approach have posed problems for Wenger's men in the past suggest that Arsenal will no longer be bullied, and on Saturday both Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny shrugged off shuddering challenges from Kevin Davies that revealed the old Bolton under the surface of a more progressive approach under Owen Coyle.

Davies was lucky to stay on the field when his teammate Gary Cahill was shown a straight red by Stuart Attwell for a foul on Marouane Chamakh that was little worse. It came soon after Chamakh had headed Arsenal into a 2-1 lead, Johan Elmander having cancelled out Koscielny's first goal for the club.

Coyle, though, was incensed that the officials had missed a foul by Song on Chung-Yong Lee seconds before Cahill's dismissal, which will result in a three-match suspension. "It doesn't help given the fantastic talent Gary is, and there was probably an element of frustration because the initial foul wasn't given," he said. "It's a double whammy. It was a big decision, and had they got it right we would have been well placed to try and get something from the game.

"Anybody that knows about football knows that it was clearly a free-kick and then, all of a sudden from a dangerous position, we're down to ten men against Arsenal. It's difficult playing 11 v 11 against Arsenal, never mind being a man short. But we should have defended better."

Match facts

Arsenal (4-3-3) Almunia; Eboué, Squillaci, Koscielny, Gibbs; Song, Fabregas, Wilshere (Diaby, 59, Denilson 73); Rosicky, Chamakh (Vela, 81), Arshavin. Substitutes not used Fabianski (gk), Sagna, Nasri, Clichy.

Bolton (4-1-3-2): Bogdan; Steinsson, Cahill, Knight, Robinson; Muamba; Lee (Taylor 81), Holden, Petrov (O'Brien, 66); K Davies, Elmander (Blake 81). Substitutes not used Lainton (gk), M Davies, Klasnic, Ricketts.

Booked: Arsenal Gibbs, Eboue Bolton Davies, Steinsson

Sent off Cahill.

Man of the match Song

Possession Arsenal 60% Bolton 40%

Shots on target Arsenal 14 Bolton 6

Referee S Attwell Attendance 59,876

Match rating 7/10.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform