Arsène Wenger did many great things for Arsenal during his two decades with the club. His greatest accomplishment will undoubtedly be The Invincibles, but close behind will be his role in the construction of the Emirates and his annual Champions League qualification while the club repaid the stadium’s construction costs.
It’s only fitting that in his last match in charge at the Emirates, the house that he built, Arsène Wenger got a proper sendoff. The Gunners were rampant on the way to a 5-0 win. The victory clinched 6th place in the league and qualification to the group stages of next season’s Europa League.
Putting 5 past Burnley is no easy feat - the Clarets came into today’s match tied for third fewest goals allowed in the Premier League. Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (2), Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolašinac, and Alex Iwobi scored for the Gunners. Danny Welbeck was inches away from adding another - his missile of a shot late-on nearly broke the crossbar where it hit. Young centerback Konstantinos Mavropanos had another strong game and looks poised to challenge for first team minutes next season.
It was a day of farewells at the Emirates. Per Mertesacker made his last appearance in front of the home crowd, who sent him off in style. The BFG came on in the 77th minute to raucous support and was cheered loudly every time he touched the ball. Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season to become the head of the Arsenal academy.
Today was also the Emirates send-off for Arsenal kit man Vic Akers. Akers has been with the club for more than 30 years, founded and managed Arsenal Women’s Football Club, and by all accounts, is a beloved figure around the training ground. Arsenal W.F.C. captain and England international Alex Scott was also honored after the game for her fantastic Arsenal career.
But the day belonged to Arsene Wenger, the man who has given his heart and soul to the club he loves. As the final minutes ticked down, the Emirates faithful sang out once more, as they have countless times, “There’s only one Arsène Wenger.”