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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleBenjamin Netanyahu trolled by group promoting two-state solution
Arts and Entertainment
Kylie performs during her Kiss Me Once tour
musicReview: 26 years on from her first single, the pop princess tries just a bit too hard at London's O2
Life and Style
fashionEveryone, apparently
Voices
The erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey has already been blamed for a rise in the number of callouts to the fire brigade for people trapped in handcuffs
voicesJustine Elyot: Since Fifty Shades there's no need to be secretive about it — everyone's at it
Arts and Entertainment
A new Banksy entitled 'Art Buff' has appeared in Folkestone, Kent
art
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
The White Sails Hospital and Spa is to be built in the new Tunisia Economic City.
architectureRussian billionaire designs boat-shaped hospital for new Dubai-style Tunisia Economic City
Sport
Husain Abdullah returns an interception off Tom Brady for a touchdown
nflLeague has rules against 'sliding to ground on knees'
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
tech
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style