London, UK: Arsenal manager for 22 years, Arsene Wenger, 68, received a guard of honour before his final match in charge of the English Premier League team at the Emirates Stadium – before Arsenal 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on Sunday. Both teams formed a guard of honour for the Frenchman before kick-off to a chorus of “there’s only one Arsene Wenger”.
This would be Arsene Wenger’s final home game before retiring at the end of the season.
“I will miss you” Arsene Wenger told the Arsenal fans on a day dominated by tributes to the Frenchman,
60,000 capacity Emirates was packed with some fans sporting red t-shirts emblazoned with “Merci Arsene” (Thank you Arsene).
“Thank you for having me for such a long time. I know that’s not easy but, above all, I am like you, I am an Arsenal fan,” Wenger said a post-match presentation on the Emirates turf. I would like to finish by one simple word: I will miss you. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life.”
There was plenty for the supporters to shout about in a fitting finale for Wenger as Arsenal vs Burnley displayed the attractive brand of attacking football that characterized his most successful sides over the past two decades.
Defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday means Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season.
But they bounced back in style to secure the small consolation of ensuring they will finish sixth in the Premier League ahead of Burnley.
Gabon striker, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, took his tally to eight goals in 11 Premier League appearances since joining for a club record fee from Borussia Dortmund in January.
Aubameyang opened the scoring when he slid in to meet Alexandre Lacazette’s cross to get a party atmosphere started after just 14 minutes.
Lacazette stroked home Arsenal’s second just before half-time before Jack Wilshere teed up Sead Kolasinac for a third nine minutes after the break.
Aubameyang turned provider for Alex Iwobi to smash home the fourth after being given a huge amount of time inside the Burnley box to pick his spot.
And Aubameyang finished as he started by steering home Hector Bellerin’s cross to round off a five-star performance by the Gunners to send-off Wenger in style.
Burnley have qualified for Europe for the first time in 51 years thanks to finishing seventh.
Wenger won three Premier Leagues and a record seven FA Cups. His crowning glory coming in the 2003/04 season when Arsenal FC won the league without losing a single game.
He was presented with the special gold trophy given to the club for that achievement after the match by two Arsenal legends Bob Wilson and Pat Rice, who worked on Wenger’s coaching staff for many years.