By Chris Harris
An eye-catching scoreline and Theo Walcott's hat-trick hogged the headlines after Arsenal's win over Newcastle but Arsène Wenger's head was turned by something else - his team's character.
A 7-3 victory implies something of a trouncing but, in truth, Arsenal were in danger of dropping points until Olivier Giroud gave them a two-goal cushion with a diving header four minutes from time.
Wenger doesn't mind how his team wins - each victory is worth the same number of points after all - but he was taken by the never-say-die attitude that allowed Arsenal to respond to losing the lead three times on Saturday.
"That’s the biggest thing," said the manager. "We couldn’t see any sign of giving up, even at 3-3. It’s not easy, mentally. You’re 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 3-3 and you come back again - that’s not easy.
"A win [is the most important thing]. You cannot win every game 7-3. Your team has to be capable to sometimes win 1-0. I was very pleased with our result at Wigan, because I felt we played against a good side. We had to dig deep and were quite solid defensively.
"It was a completely different game [against Newcastle]."
A different game to Wigan, perhaps, but no flash in the pan on the evidence of this season. Arsenal's first three big wins of the campaign - against Southampton, Coventry City and Reading - read more like a tennis score: 6-1, 6-1, 7-5.
They have since added 5-2 victories over Tottenham and Reading before Saturday's 10-goal thriller against Newcastle. Wenger thinks the Premier League's goal rush is a consequence of more adventurous tactics.
"It is very different," he said. "First of all, the other teams have improved. You could see Newcastle, they go to Man United [and] they score three goals. They come here [and] they score three goals.
"The technical quality of Premier League teams has improved. It’s more difficult to stop them from playing. A team is maybe less built to stop others from playing. We are a technical side, so going forward, we always look like we can create something.
"I don't know [why Arsenal have had so many high-scoring games]. People have been very impatient with us. We have rebuilt a team. We started well. We stuttered a little bit after and now we have come back.
"We had to rebuild a team and we have done it. [It] demands some time and some understanding. How good are we? It will be decided in the next four or five months.
"I always said I’m confident, because I feel the team is focused, has a good spirit, and are united. Slowly we are getting there. We still have some work to do."Copyright 2013 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 30 Dec 2012