LONDON, May 7: Arsene Wenger enjoyed a 5-0 thrashing of Burnley in his final home game in charge of Arsenal after 22 years as manager on a day dominated by tributes to the Frenchman.
Both teams formed a guard of honour for Wenger, 68, before kick-off to a chorus of “there’s only one Arsene Wenger.”
All around a full house of 60,000 at the Emirates – in stark contrast to recent league games when fans have stayed away in protest at a poor season – fans sported red t-shirts emblazoned with “Merci Arsene” (Thank you Arsene).
“I expect today will be dominated by sadness,” wrote Wenger in his final programme notes.
“It’s the end of a long story for me at Arsenal. But I will also feel grateful for having led this club – that I cherish so much – for such a long time.”
Wenger won three Premier Leagues and a record seven FA Cups. His crowning glory coming in the 2003/04 season when Arsenal won the league without losing a single game.
That “Invincibles” season was his last as a Premier League winner, though, and fans became tired of Arsenal’s inability to compete for Premier League and Champions League titles.
However, there was plenty for the supporters to shout about in a fitting farewell for Wenger as Arsenal displayed the attractive brand of attacking football that characterised 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. (AFP)