Arsenal did Wenger proud in perfect send-off at emotional Emirates

What felt like was going to be a sad day turned into a joyous one instead.

The scoreline set up Arsene Wenger’s farewell party but the mood really summed up the true feelings around one of English football’s all time greats.

Not one fan left early before the post-match celebrations and he was given a send off to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

The chorus of “One Arsene Wenger” rang around the Emirates for one last time as Arsenal ’s greatest ever manager said an emotional farewell.

There was a real lump in the throat moment when Wenger rounded off his speech on the pitch by saying: “I would like to finish with a simple word – I will miss you.”

It takes the bigger man to forgive and forget the bad times to remember the good, glorious moments of his 22 years in charge of Arsenal.


They chanted his name at the end, formed a guard of honour before and after – and it was a wonderful reminder of the good days.

Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick was booed (he has been dismissive of fans at the AGM), kitman Vic Akers and Per Mertesacker got great send-offs and club legend Bob Wilson made a wonderful speech calling Wenger the best manager the club has ever had.

There were big banners on the pitch of the trophies won, huge balloons and letters spelling out “Merci Arsene” which the club have tried to make the buzz words since announcing he will leave at the end of the season.

There have been empty red seats throughout the season but there was not one to be had for the farewell party and instead the stadium was decked out in red from the “Merci Arsene” T-shirts left on every seat for the fans.

The club put on one hell of a party and have handled the departure of their greatest ever manager with grace and class – and the players also put on a show to remember.


It would be easy to get swept up along by the emotion of the day and the fact that Burnley knew winning would put Arsenal under pressure for sixth place and the potential ignominy of having to enter the Europa League at the third qualifying stage in July.

But Arsenal tied it up with a classy send off which, in all honesty, Wenger would have enjoyed far more because the football was terrific and that, rather than pomp and ceremony, is what he really loves.

It was a beautiful sunny day and, rather in keeping with recent seasons, Arsenal put on a five star performance when the pressure if off and it does not really matter.

What a great shame that Mesut Ozil was missing, the £350,000-a-week Germany star went AWOL in Madrid, legend Martin Keown said he would “have an emotional breakdown” and would not play again this season. He might just be right.

But the rest did their manager proud. Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed again that maybe they can play together up front while Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jack Wilshere drove forward from midfield.

Arsenal got their first after 14 minutes after Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi combined nicely, Lacazette’s cross shot was then turned in by Aubameyang.


Burnley never showed up, maybe it was one game too far and their striker Ashley Barnes went off injured with a suspected broken collar bone.

Arsenal had it sewn up by half time when Iwobi released Bellerin down the right and his cross was turned in by Lacazette in first half injury time.

Sead Kolasinac, set up by Wilshere, drove home the third after 54 minutes. Kolasinac has shown promise this season but maybe needs a fresh start under a new manager while Konstantinos Mavropanos produced another promising display at centre half.

Arsenal got a fourth after 64 minutes when Iwobi rifled into the net and Aubameyang made it five after 75 minutes following more good work from Bellerin.

Mertesacker, who will retire to take over the academy, got a great reception as the game almost had a testimonial feel to it. Danny Welbeck smashed the post but Arsenal had the day won in style.

The post-match celebrations – featuring legends like Pires, Keown, Petit and Ljungberg – gave it a wonderful feel but there was no better way for it to end at the Emirates than with a wonderful win.

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