Departing Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger received as good an Emirates Stadium send-off as he could’ve wanted as he watched the Gunners dismantle Europe-bound Burnley 5-0 in their final home game of the season.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave Arsenal the lead after 15 minutes when by tapping in Alexandre Lacazette’s cross, and the French striker was next to add his name to the score sheet when he too fired in from close range past Nick Pope.
Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi both powered their way onto the scoreboard when the Bosnian made it 3-0 with a thunderous strike after half-time and the winger struck his own goal 10 minutes later to make it four.
Aubamenyang doubled his tally 15 minutes from time to round up a perfect performance by Arsenal as the North London club say an emotional final farewell to their manager.
Wenger stepped onto the Emirates with a guard of honour from both Arsenal and Burnley players as well as the officials on the day. His last home game for the club he has managed and transformed for the past 22 years, the Frenchman would had expected his side to go out there and out on a pleasing performance for him and the passionate home fans.
However, the first 15 minutes were anything but pleasing. Burnley had made a name for themselves for being stubborn to break down and hard to press against, and that’s exactly what Sean Dyche’s side did for the opening period of this match.
Lacazette was the main danger man for the Clarets as his pace was devastating in splitting apart the Burnley defence, and that’s exactly how the first goal was made on the 15th minute mark.
The French striker was picked out inside the area by Iwobi, but despite a heavy touch from Lacazette the Arsenal number nine was able to fire the ball through the penalty area, and into the path of Aubameyang who poked in the opening goal.
Things got worse for Burnley as their striker on the day, Ashley Barnes, was forced to come off 19 minutes in after the 28-year-old attacker collided with Granit Xhaka, and after some time receiving treatment the forward was forced to come off using his shirt as a holder for his injured arm.
Arsenal went on cruise control following Aubameyang’s opening goal. Playing silky, on-the-floor football that was pleasing on the eye for any fan, but this style did not lead to many big chances.
Just before the halftime whistle was about to blow and as most of the fans were heading down, Lacazette doubled Arsenal’s lead.
Hector Bellerin collected the ball down the right wing, and a simple cross found the feet of the summer signing who had an easy finish past the reach of Nick Pope inside the penalty area to double the Gunners lead at the expense of some rare poor Burnley defending.
The second half began with what looked like more Arsenal domination. Jack Wilshere had an early chance to make it three for the Gunners but his effort from close range flew high over the Burnley goal.
A third goal was coming for the Gunners, and it eventually came nine minutes into the second half through Arsenal’s other summer signing, Kolasinac.
A great burst from midfield created by Wilshere resulted in the Arsenal number 10 niftily creating space for Arsenal to attack. The ball eventually fell to Kolasinac on the edge of the penalty area, and the Bosnian defender rocketed home the Gunner’s third goal of the afternoon with a powerful hit past Pope.
The chant of ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’ was prominent from the first minute of the game. The song was so consistent throughout the entire game that even Burnley fans, despite being 3-0 down, began to join with the home crowd to pay respect for a man who changed English football forever.
Wenger had long been a fan of player young, talented players that came through the Arsenal academy, so it was only fitting that one of these players scored in his final home game. And that moment came 64 minutes in through Iwobi.
Iwobi had been a popular scapegoat for most Arsenal fans, but few would criticise his performance today. And his goal to make it 4-0 capped a brilliant appearance for the Nigerian international.
The winger collected the ball outside the area after some messy defending from Burnley, and the winger smashed the ball into the roof of the net with his second touch of the ball to send the Emirates into a frenzy yet again, as one of their own put the game to bed.
Aubameyang bagged a brace 74 minutes in when Bellerin yet again found a way into the Burnley penalty area and found out his man, resulting in the former Borussia Dortmund striker to yet again tuck the ball past Pope to make it 5-0 to the hosts.
The goal produced a massive cheer from the crowd, but three minutes later the home fans were gave the loudest cheer of all when Per Mertesacker came on for his final appearance at the Emirates Stadium.
The Arsenal captain was looking for a farewell goal, but the German giant couldn’t find anything as the full whistle blew.