Huddersfield Town 0-1 Arsenal: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gives Arsene Wenger perfect send-off
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Arsenal marked Arsene Wenger’s final game in charge of the North London giants with a 1-0 victory at Huddersfield Town on an emotional day.
A first half goal from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang on 38 minutes after an Aaron Ramsey cross saw the visitors head into the break 1-0 up to seal the victory.
Wenger was given a tremendous reception by Huddersfield and travelling Arsenal fans here at the John Smith’s Stadium before, during and after his final, farewell match.
Given a guard of honour by both teams for the second time this week – after being hailed last Sunday against Burnley in his last match in charge at the Emirates – Wenger then walked on the pitch bathed in Yorkshire sunshine to the away end to take the acclaim of the travelling support.
The entire crowd rose as one to salute him on a raucous afternoon that could be described as joyous after the home side, led by the impressive David Wagner had avoided relegation this week.
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Having achieved draws at champions Manchester City and at Stamford Bridge over the past seven days to avoid the drop, it was fair to say there was a celebratory atmosphere, generated by all present.
Wenger, who had been afforded a warm reception laced with complete respect when disembarking from the team coach and before kick-off, saw his team handed a fiery reception on it as Wagner’s side started brightly.
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Huddersfield nearly scored after 180 seconds as Steve Mounie met a Florent Hadergjonaj cross only to see David Opsina – in for Petr Cech – deny him.
Five minutes later Mounie then knocked down Alex Pritchard’s cross for Christopher Schindler whose effort was blocked allowing Ospina to gather.
On 13 minutes Pritchard squared to Tom Ince but he blazed over from close range when he was well-placed and should have scored.
With 22 minutes on the clock the entire stadium rose to acclaim Wenger to mark his 22 years in charge. It was an impressive gesture from an impressive club with the passionate home fans created a superb atmosphere.
It was as heartening as it was moving and their magnamous gesture should be applauded by every Arsenal fan.
As the half progressed the home’s sides frenetic start faded in the sun as their intensity levels dropped. It was understandable as it has been a long season for them and they have been a breath of fresh air in the Premier League.
Terriers boss Wagner’s side still continued to have spells of possession, but Arsenal – as they have had a tendency to do through Wenger – hit back with a neat passing move which put them 1-0 up through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan played the ball to Alexandre Lacazette who in turn fed Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman, captain for the day, squared the ball into the box for the former Borussia Dortmund forward to fire home from close range.
Aubameyang loves playing in the Premier League as the goal was his 10th in only matches, with four assists.
The strike may have come against the run of play, but the flowing move for the goal was pure Wenger.
The home side started the second half in the same vein with Pritchard firing a curling right-footed shot over the bar on 55 minutes.
Five minutes later Ospina pushed a low shot from the lively Mounie past his left hand post as the Terriers searched for an equaliser as the noise levels reached fever pitch.
As the clock ticked down, the mercury rose in the heat as did the attacking from both sides, even if, after a long season for both sides, it was slightly ragged.
Lacazette, could and should have made it 2-0 when bearing down on goal but Terriers keeper Jonas Lossl stood up to the former Lyon man and claimed his effort after the striker attempted to lift the ball over him.
He then blocked substitute Danny Welbeck by blocking his effort to deny a second for the visitors. Granit Xhaka then drilled a low shot inches wide of his left hand post.
Ultimately, the score was immaterial, for today was all about one man, Arsene Wenger, as he ended an era on an unforgettable day in Yorkshire in front of 24,141 and millions more around the planet.