Perhaps the best tribute to Arsene Wenger is that in the final home game of his storied Arsenal career, he started a back four with an average age of 22.5 years old. No matter whether you’re #WengerIn or #WengerOut, unquestionably the man has always tried to do what he thought was best for Arsenal – often at the expense of his own legacy.
The unfortunate reality however is that this has been a disappointing season for Wenger and Arsenal. They found themselves in the third-to-last Premier League game of their season in a “six-pointer” match against Burnley for 6th and 7th place. The chants of “One Arsene Wenger” at the start were bittersweet.
Also of note, long-time kit man Vic Akers was serving in his final home game for Arsenal as well. His son has been serving as his understudy will take over from him as kit man next year.
Tactically, Arsenal appeared to line up with a 4-1-2-3 formation, with Xhaka sitting behind Wilshere and Iwobi in midfield. Lacazette started as the lone striker, with Aubamayang interchanging with Mkhitaryan and often drifting in to join Lacazette when Arsenal attacked.
Arsenal started strongly with a beautiful move down the right hand side. Lacazette recieved a pass from Bellerin in the right channel and played a one-two with Iwobi before driving a hard low cross for Aubamayang to tap in at the six yard box. 1-0 to the Arsenal at the 12th minute.
Burnley appeared happy to let Arsenal control possession, but managed to bend but not break for the majority of the half. In the 43rd minute when Mkhitaryan’s deflected shot from outside nearly fooled the Burnley keeper Pope, Arsenal appeared to find a new gear.
The Gunners efforts were rewarded in the second minute of injury time. The attack again came down the right-hand side with Iwobi playing a through pass to Bellerin who cut back to Lacazette for another tap-in, this time at the near post. 2-0 to the Arsenal at half-time.
The youngster Mavropanos had an eventful half, barging into aerial challenges and playing a couple suspect passes. His efforts were eagerly applauded by the Emirates faithful and he should be one to watch for next season.
Burnley started the second half with more purpose, forcing a couple of saves from Cech in the first five minutes. Arsenal pushed back however and regained control of the match. In the 53rd minute, Wilshere beat his man Jack Cork in midfield and found some space to pick a pass. He played a ball out to Kolasinac on the left-hand side who took a touch and released a thunderous Podolski-esque strike across the goal and into the far corner of the net. 3-0 to the Arsenal and even the Burnley fans were joining in on the “One Arsene Wenger” chants.
Alex Iwobi decided to get in on the fun when Arsenal broke from a Burnley corner just after the hour mark. Iwobi picked up the ball on the halfway line and drove forward, passing a ball out to Aubamayang on the left before receiving it back on the edge of the box. None of the Burnley defenders closed him down and Iwobi released a powerful strike into the roof of the net. 4-0.
Aaron Ramsey and Danny Welbeck replaced Wilshere and Lacazette at the 70th minute. Ramsey became immediately involved and played a ball out to Bellerin on the right, who crossed to Aubamayang again in the middle of the six yard box for another tap-in. 5-0 to the Arsenal.
Per Mertesacker then replaced Chambers to celebrate the BFG’s final home game as well. He was vociferously cheered every time he touched the ball. By the 90th minute the whole of the Emirates were on their feet – a perfect send-off from the house that Arsene built.
Player Ratings: Cech: 8/10, Bellerin: 8/10, Chambers: 7/10, Mavropanos: 7.5/10, Kolasinac: 8/10, Xhaka: 7.5/10, Iwobi: 7.5/10, Wilshere: 8/10, Mkhitaryan: 7/10, Aubamayang: 9/10, Lacazette:7.5/10, Welbeck: 7/10, Ramsey: 7.5/10 and Mertesacker: 8/10