Arsenal end Wenger era with win at Huddersfield

By Daily Sports on May 14, 2018

Views: 807

Arsene Wenger’s 1,235-game reign as Arsenal manager came to an end with a victory over Huddersfield on the final day of the Premier League season.

The game had little riding on it, with Huddersfield having already avoided relegation and Arsenal finishing sixth no matter what, and was played in front of a carnival atmosphere at John Smith’s Stadium.

Wenger came out to a rapturous reception and went over to applaud the Arsenal fans, taking a bow before kick-off.

Both sets of fans gave him a standing ovation after 22 minutes – to celebrate his 22 years in English football with the Gunners – and two planes flew over the ground in the early stages with banners celebrating the Frenchman.

Wenger brought three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including two Doubles, to Arsenal – but leaves them in the lowest position since he arrived, sixth.

In fact this win over Huddersfield was the first time in eight attempts they have picked up any points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 - making them the last professional team in England to do so.

Their goal was scored by Wenger’s final signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he slid home a low cross from their longest-serving player, Aaron Ramsey.

Terriers midfielder Aaron Mooy almost denied Wenger his farewell win late on as his shot crashed off the crossbar.

Arsenal grind out final-day win

Wenger had hoped Wednesday’s Europa League final would be his farewell game but Atletico Madrid scuppered those hopes in the semi-final, ensuring the Frenchman will not leave the club with Champions League football next season.

In truth, they have been poor for much of this campaign, with fans turning on Wenger before his departure was announced in April – enabling him to say goodbye in more pleasant circumstances from the supporters.

The Gunners’ sixth-placed finish is their worst under Wenger, and seven consecutive away Premier League defeats before this game tell their own story.

They were slightly fortunate to send Wenger off with a victory, with the only goal coming when Alexandre Lacazette passed the ball wide to Aaron Ramsey, who delivered an excellent low cross which Aubameyang turned home.

The Gunners only had four shots on target, with Lacazette chipping into Jonas Lossl’s hands and Danny Welbeck firing straight at the goalkeeper in the second half.

Now Arsenal have to find a replacement for Wenger and when the 2018-19 season starts, there will be a manager other than the Frenchman in the dugout for the first time since 1996.

Huddersfield unlucky to lose – but they don’t really care

Terriers fans invaded the pitch at the final whistle, keen not to allow this defeat to overshadow a fantastic season which has seen their side defy expectations to survive in the top-flight.

They had ensured their safety with surprise draws at Manchester City and Chelsea in their previous two games – meaning their return to the top-flight for the first time since 1972 would not be a one-year stay.

David Wagner’s side had chances throughout the game – although their two huge opportunities to spoil Wenger’s farewell came late on.

First Mooy smacked a shot off the crossbar, and then Laurent Depoitre’s header was saved by David Ospina on the line with seconds left after keeper Lossl had ventured forward for a corner.

On a day to celebrate, and with the clock winding down, the Terriers brought on retiring midfielder Dean Whitehead with three minutes left. He now joins the club's coaching staff.

Man of the match – Arsene Wenger. (BBC)

•Photo shows Wenger greeting Arsenal fans at Huddersfield

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 14, 2018


 

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