By Chris Harris

Arsène Wenger likes his teams to be firm but fair in their approach to football.

Arsenal, and more specifically William Gallas, were accused of foul play in midweek when the centre back fouled Mark Davies during the build-up to the Gunners' equalising goal against Bolton at Emirates Stadium. Having seen the incident again, Wenger defended Gallas' challenge after deciding there was no malice intended on the part of his player.

That is clearly important to Wenger, who wants to see his team conduct themselves properly on the pitch.

"It matters in that it shows we are trying to play in a correct way," he said. "But I like my players to turn up to games and stand up to a physical challenge.

Arsenal are currently top of the Fair Play League and have not had a player sent off for 57 games - a run no Premier League side can match. Red cards were more regular in the early years of Wenger's reign and he was asked to name names at his pre-match press conference.

"Ian Wright!" he smiled. "I was sitting at the disciplinary table and Wright said: "OK I got a red card, you will never see me [here] again. Three weeks later I was sitting there again [with him]!

"We had many red cards but many were a reaction to provocation," added Wenger.

"How many people have tried to kick Patrick Vieira off the park? But course he didn't lie down and he responded in a way which gave him a red card."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
22 Jan 2010