Champions League - Wenger: Fabregas in 'another dimension'
PA Sport - Thu, 16 Sep 08:47:00 2010
Arsenal had chalked up 1,000 Premier League goals under Wenger in the 4-1 rout of Bolton on Saturday, and continued their fine form as the Portuguese debutants were taken apart.
Fabregas led the way, the Spain midfielder - now looking back to his best after the World Cup and a summer of transfer speculation linking him with Barcelona - opening the scoring from the penalty spot and then heading in a second, with only some desperate defending denying him a hat-trick.
"He has taken (on) another dimension," said the Arsenal boss. "People forget he is 23, where other players start.
"Cesc has a fantastic influence. What is important is that he leads the team to winning.
"What I like is he gave the ball to Carlos Vela when he could have tried to score a third himself - that reflects the way we want to play the game and on a leader who does what the game wants, not being selfish.
"He arrived here at the age of 16 and enjoys the way we play. What more do you want to be happy?
"Also it is a fantastic opportunity for the players playing alongside him - if you are 18, like (Jack) Wilshere, and you see Fabregas, it is a big opportunity to learn a lot."
Wenger added: "It wasn't easy for him in the summer, he was under a lot of pressure of course, but I never had any doubt that he loves the club and he wants to do well for us.
"He's a leader and he shows that in his attitude on and off the pitch."
A quickfire double from Andrei Arshavin and Marouane Chamakh made it 3-0 by half-time. Arsenal - unbeaten in four Premier League games and just two points behind leaders Chelsea - kept their foot on the accelerator with Fabregas heading in number four and substitute Carlos Vela chalking up a late brace.
Wenger did not seem surprised by his team's performance. His faith in a brand of football that is preached from junior level to first team at Arsenal is unshakable despite five trophy-less years.
"We have a big potential but what you forget is that I always believed in this team," Wenger said. "The players that were here at 20 and 21 are now 23 and they are continuing to grow.
"What they did at 20 was exceptional even though some people can't accept that we haven't won trophies".
Ultimately Wenger knows that the success of his mission will be judged on silverware, not the exhibition football they are capable of on a pleasant September evening in North London against compliant opposition.
"I'm convinced (the team will win trophies) but I have a problem convincing you," Wenger said. "We have a style at the club that everybody knows and no matter who comes in the football is played the same way."