Arsene Wenger’s long farewell to Arsenal started with a 4-1 Premier League win over West Ham as the Emirates Stadium faithful finally united behind the veteran manager.
The 68-year-old put an end to the enduring speculation over his future on Friday when it was announced he would stand down at the end of the season, and a late goal from Aaron Ramsey allied to Alexandre Lacazette’s double helped kick-start the leaving party on Sunday.
Having proven a divisive figure in recent seasons, the confirmation that Wenger’s 22-year tenure will soon be at an end had a unifying impact on the Gunners’ fans, who saw Nacho Monreal’s second-half goal cancelled out by a fine Marko Arnautovic strike before Ramsey and Lacazette saved the day.
It provided Wenger, who has gone from being a relative unknown upon his arrival to the Premier League in 1996 to attaining legendary status, with his 474th English top-flight victory from 825 matches.
The man who once led Arsenal on a 49-game unbeaten run in the league still has time to add to his 17 trophies with the club – a haul that includes three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – with a Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid to come.
Rumours will continue to gather momentum regarding who will replace the division’s longest-serving boss, but that person will follow in the footsteps of one of football’s most exceptional managerial talents, who received the acclaim of the fan base after the hosts’ late rally.
Meanwhile, David Moyes’ side must continue to look nervously over their shoulders, but the finish line is in sight and they still have a six-point cushion over the bottom three.
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