Arsenal 4-1 Bolton: Daily Mirror match report
Published 23:00 12/09/10 By John Cross
It used to be one-nil to the Arsenal – but Arsene Wenger now jokes he has now made it 1,000-nil to the Arsenal.
Wenger took over at Arsenal 14 years ago and inherited a team renowned for grinding out dour 1-0 wins. But under his stewardship the Gunners cavaliers have scored 1,001 Premier League goals.
Once boring, boring Arsenal, they are now England’s great entertainers.
The Frenchman said: “Now it’s 1,000-0 to the Arsenal!
“We have players who are offensively gifted, 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 at the training ground.
“People come here and see goals and that’s the most important thing. That’s what people want.”
Wenger inherited Dennis Bergkamp, bought Thierry Henry, and signed goalscoring midfielders like Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires.
They have all chipped in with priceless goals, great memories and spectacular strikes down the years.
But, having gone through the 1,000-goal barrier, the obvious question was to ask Wenger for his favourite. Or at least his top three.
“How long do you want me to stand here?” he laughed. “I’m proud our supporters have seen 1,000 goals, but it’s not easy to choose the best.
“I’ve seen some great goals – from Henry, Bergkamp, Campbell against Chelsea, even Adams against Everton. I’ve seen plenty of goals, it’s difficult to choose.
“The important ones you remember. But you have the the spectacular ones, like Dennis Bergkamp at Newcastle [in the FA Cup] or Thierry Henry against Tottenham or Liverpool.
“But you have as well the little ones and the goals that get you a 1-0 win.”
But Wenger believes the club’s fans would never accept a return to the ‘1-0 to the Arsenal’ days – even if it meant winning some trophies.
George Graham embraced the “boring, boring Arsenal” style during the latter stage of his reign to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup and domestic cup double.
What Arsenal wouldn’t give for a trophy or two this season, having gone five years without silverware.
But Wenger made it clear that nothing will change his philosophy. Chelsea are red-hot favourites for the title this season but Wenger believes Arsenal can be the real deal without needing to compromise on his love of the beautiful game.
Wenger said: “I think the Arsenal fans want to win and be entertained. The target is to win and to win with style. But of course when you do not manage to win with style, you still want to win.
“This season is an important one because we have to show we can win with massive competitors – like Man City, Man United, Tottenham, and Chelsea. It will be very difficult but I believe we will have our say.
“Chelsea look super favourites at the moment but they are only two points ahead of us. There will come a time when everybody will drop points.”
Perhaps the most pleasing thing of all for Wenger was that Arsenal passed their goal landmark against a team whose muscular apporach has given them problems in the past.
Arsenal were able to mix it with Bolton’s hard-men and also score some special goals. Cesc Fabregas was the architect, his sublime passing undoing Bolton’s brave defence.
However, the game was marred by a harsh red card for Bolton defender Gary Cahill, and his tackle on Marouane Chamakh was not half as bad as Paul Robinson’s X-rated challenge on Abou Diaby.
It was almost a case of tallying one foul up against another and Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs stayed on the pitch only because referee Stuart Attwell decided not to give him a second yellow card for a clumsy foul on Kevin Davies.
Arsenal still managed some super goals from Laurent Koscielny, Chamakh, Alex Song and Carlos Vela’s clincher after a super passing move.
Defender Koscielny looks suspect at times and his mistake gifted Bolton striker Johan Elmander an equaliser but Cahill’s sending-off at 2-1 after 66 minutes sealed Bolton’s fate.
Midfielder Song, whose first goal at the Emirates helped Wenger reach the 1,000 landmark, said Arsenal now have the tougher edge they have lacked in the past.
Song said: “I think we did very well at Blackburn two weeks ago and we did very, very well against Bolton and now we have to learn from these game in the future.
“Now we know we can fight when we need to fight and we can play good football when we get the chance to play good football.
“We know that Bolton have the same style as Blackburn. We know no-one can do anything about it when we play at our best. That’s why everyone was happy.”