The John Smith’s stadium was the stage for Arsené Wenger’s final ever match as Arsenal’s manager after an extraordinary 22-year reign at the club.
Although Huddersfield initially looked set to spoil the occasion for the 2nd-longest serving Premier League manager of all time, it was the Gunners that won the day to record Arsene’s 707th and final Arsenal victory.
Record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the man to step up and grab the winning game in the 38th minute when Aaron Ramsey managed to poke a fizzing ball across the danger area to the £56-million-man, who slid in to stick the ball into the net.
Like many occasions this season, it would be untruthful to say that Arsenal didn’t play rather poorly, and if Huddersfield hadn’t secured safety in midweek, they may have felt a bit hard done by to walk away with nothing. However, the Terriers have had an excellent season, and this defeat shouldn’t phase them an awful lot. After all, the Kirklees faithful joined in the applause for Wenger, and perhaps the team just didn’t have the heart to take one last victory away from the 68-year old.
Aaron Mooy almost did just that in the closing minutes after his well hit shot from a tight angle bounced off the cross bar, but I’m sure he only wanted to give Arsenal fans a little scare, that’s all.
In all seriousness, David Wagner has done a spectacular job keeping Huddersfield in the Premier League – a task that many deemed impossible as soon as the Terriers beat Reading in the play-off final penalty shootout almost a year ago. A couple of recent well-earned draws against Manchester City and Chelsea mean that Wagner’s men survive to see another season in the top division.
At kick-off only 22 days had passed since Wenger announced his departure from the club, which is barely a blink of the eye for those who have followed Arsenal and football in general the last couple of decades. Despite many fans screaming for “Wenger out”, the now empty space left by this becoming a reality will no doubt leave some of these fans in a little bit of shock.
But all good things must come to an end, and onwards and upwards will be the phrase on every Arsenal fan’s lips as they hope to see their team rise again in the coming seasons under a new manager, whoever that may be.
As for Huddersfield, it’s rare to see a team’s supporters run onto the pitch after suffering a defeat, but emotions were running high all round for the entire game – one neither team will forget any time soon. The future is bright for the Terriers, and some summer signings could begin to iron out some of the issues that could bring a change in fortune next season.
Congratulations to Huddersfield for such a successful season, and to Arsené Wenger, for an incredibly triumphant 22 years at Arsenal football club.
Written by Harry Mahon.