Arsenal 5-0 Burnley
A perfect ending. The sun set on Wengerâ€™s tenure at the Emirates, with the team on the one hand lashing five past Burnley, and the club on the other getting the tone spot on in a goodbye that gave Le Boss the farewell heâ€™s earned and deserved.
It was an emotional day – one for reflection but also for thanks and for looking forward – and the mood was bubbly and celebratory throughout. â€œWhy canâ€™t the atmosphere be like this every game?â€, asked my brother. A fair point – it was certainly raucous for most of the match, with numerous, throaty renditions of â€˜One ArsÃ¨ne Wengerâ€™, paeans to Per Mertesacker and plenty of other Wenger-era songs that have been gathering dust in the attic brought out for a Sunday drive.
The match was irrelevant, to some degree, though of course had we ended up seventh weâ€™d have had to start our Europa League campaign about three weeks ago, so it was good to put that piece of time travel to bed. Needless to say, there were some lovely performances and some beautiful goals under the May sunshine. As Wenger said after the match, this team is team is better than many people think, and though thereâ€™s plenty of evidence to dispute that, on a day like yesterday you can see that the next man to take to the touchline will have some fantastic tools to work with. Itâ€™s a plum job, alright.
Sent off in style
And so to the end. In a sea of red, two floating sausages emerged (no caviar was available, but thatâ€™s OK because we havenâ€™t been so used to that recently), one with Wengerâ€™s face draped beneath it, the other with his trophy roll-call, and the party began. Bob Wilson and Pat Rice were the perfect compÃ¨res, Wenger was awarded the gold Premier League trophy for going unbeaten, he then said some measured but lovely words before lapping up the adulation as he walked round the pitch, and that was that.
As I said, it couldnâ€™t have been better pitched. I took my two boys along, who wonâ€™t forget an occasion like that in a hurry, and nor will I. I dread to think how much and how often Iâ€™ve thought about ArsÃ¨ne and his teams over the years – every day, repeatedly, is probably the honest answer – but now itâ€™s over, and the next time I go to the Emirates thereâ€™ll be a different man on the touchline, almost certainly quite a few new faces on the pitch, and a new era will begin. Iâ€™m looking forward to that, and I have been for a while.
But Iâ€™m also proud that we saw Wenger off in a way I always knew we would. With class.