LONDON – Arsene Wenger enjoyed a rare away victory as Arsenal's fans and players saluted the end of his managerial reign with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield Town in the Premier League yesterday.
Frenchman Wenger, who is leaving the club after almost 22 years in charge, was given a guard of honour by both sets of players before the kickoff and then walked to the visiting Arsenal supporters to acknowledge them.
The decisive goal came when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slid in at the back post to convert a low cross from Aaron Ramsey in the 38th minute.
Arsenal ended the season in sixth place, their lowest finish during Wenger's time at the club, but at least they managed their first away win of 2018.
“We wanted that away win. We hadn't managed to do that yet so it was important to end Arsene's final game with a win,” said Ramsey. “He told us to go out, play how we wanted and win. It is going to be strange without him next season, but he has been brilliant and we will forever be thankful.”
With Huddersfield celebrating survival at the end of their first Premier League campaign, acknowledgement of Wenger's final - and 1 235th - game in charge took place before the kickoff.
Once the action was under way, a plane flew over the ground carrying the banner “Merci Arsene - we'll miss you”.
In the 22nd minute, the entire ground stood to applaud Wenger.
“Of course it is very emotional after 1 235 games for the same club. To enjoy it we had to win it, winning football games is what makes me happy and the boys did it. It was a good day for everyone with Huddersfield staying up too,” said Wenger.
He added that there was no sense of relief that his farewell period had come to a close.
“Not really, I'm sad,” he said. “At some stage it has to end, I wish everyone well, the fans have been great until the end and I wish the club well for the future. It will be hard to adjust of course, but I will have to deal with that. I want to wish this group of players well and the staff coming in, I will remain an Arsenal fan above everything else.”
Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah crowned a superb season with a new scoring record as Liverpool hammered Brighton & Hove Albion 4-0 in their final game of the Premier League season to finish fourth and qualify for next season's Champions League.
The 25-year-old Egyptian, who arrived on Merseyside from Roma last year, struck in the 26th minute, tucking away a left-foot strike to give his side the lead and become the first player to score 32 goals in a 38-game Premier League season.
Dejan Lovren made it 2-0 with a header just before the break and Salah then provided the assist for Dominic Solanke to rifle home his first goal for Liverpool just after halftime.
Andrew Robertson fired home the fourth in the 85th minute as Liverpool rounded off a dominant display.
With the Champions League final against Real Madrid still to come, the win over Brighton put Liverpool in fourth place on 75 points, five clear of Chelsea who slumped to a 3-0 defeat away to Newcastle.