By Chris Harris
"One Arsène Wenger, there's only one Arsène Wenger…"
The Arsenal manager has been under scrutiny since the start of the season but on Saturday, for the second time in a week, his name was cheered to the rafters at Emirates Stadium.
Robin van Persie's brace and a fine finish from Alex Song saw off Bolton and took Arsenal into mid-table. Before the match Wenger had urged his players to lift the home crowd with their performance and, by the final whistle, the fans had responded.
Wenger enjoyed his ovation but he insists that Arsenal still have a long way to go to complete their recovery from a poor start to the campaign.
"It's very nice [to hear the fans sing my name] because on that front we have struggled a little," said Wenger. "It's been a long time since I could go home and relax after a game, I can tell you. I don't know [how long it has been].
"Our season started basically two weeks ago after the August 31 transfer deadline and I believe as well we paid a heavy price to knock Udinese out of the Champions League - that was very demanding for us. After that I feel this is the first time we have had a united squad together.
"We are conscious that there is a long way to go for us and Saturday's game is a little start. Now it will be down to consistency. But I would like to say on today that Per Mertesacker is looking stronger and stronger and that he is calm, intelligent and shows me that he can lead our defence."
Wenger has had plenty of criticism in recent months but, at 62, he knows that managers have to take the rough with the smooth. All the same, the Frenchman knows that changing a manager does not necessarily change a club's fortunes.
"I never complained about the criticism I had, I can completely understand," said Wenger. "I am responsible for the results, I take that and I say that always.
"When you sack your manager you have to look for somebody else and he will lose games too. After a while it is not so easy to find managers.
"I can tell you because I know so many clubs who look for people and I can understand why we get the sack. But you look at clubs who change their manager every six months, they do not go further."Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source