Our history continued: 2016 – June 2018: The loss of Wenger and Arsenal as we know it!
The beginning of the 2016 era would hold so much loss for our beloved club that it would be hard to predict the events that would occur.
Having failed miserably to win the league since 2003-2004, at this point in his reign it seemed as though the glory days of Monsieur Arsene Wegner were so far away and would be just a memory for many Arsenal fans.
Yet the board stuck by Wenger despite the many years of not winning the league or any other trophy.
Although the league evaded us, we would make history in the FA Cup by becoming the most successful club in the tournament’s history by winning our 13th FA Cup in the 2016–17 season when we beat Chelsea 2-1 at Wembley on a sunny May afternoon.
That proved to be the final twist of an unforgettable final, where Chelsea had a man sent off, but the Arsenal players should not be denied the victory and they should forever be proud of that performance as it was definitely one that had everything; fight, character, passion and much more, and this all but sealed Wenger’s place in history with seven FA Cup wins, more than any other manager.
However, in that same season, we finished fifth in the league, and it would be the first time we had finished outside the top four since before Wenger arrived in 1996, yet we still held on to European football.
After another unspectacular league campaign, the following year, more history was made after it was time to say goodbye to the legend that helped shape football and Arsenal into more of a club following on from the many legendary managers before him.
And so, on the 6th of May 2018 Mr Wenger would depart Arsenal after almost 22 years in charge, in an emotional final home game, in which his players gave him the sending off that he deserved when they thrashed Burnley 5-0 with goals from Pierre Emerick Aubameyang x2, Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi, and funnily enough none of those players are at the club anymore.
This would be his final home game at the Emirates Stadium that would see us finish in sixth place, 34 points behind champions Manchester City.
The game proved to be a truly memorable occasion as the club came together to pay tribute to the man who had delivered three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups, two doubles and an Invincible season, and even Wenger couldn’t have asked for a better send off.
So, the Wenger reign and era had come to an end in a bittersweet and emotional time at the club where he helped the progress of some of the worlds most talented players as well as instilling some of the strictest rules into his squad coupled with some of the most beautiful and silky football ever played, with undoubtedly some memorable results too.
It can also be argued that Wenger’s greatest legacy will be the style with which he has brought success. Many clubs have won trophies, but few have managed it with the panache of Arsène’s Arsenal. When appointed in September 1996 it was a case of “Arsène Who?” yet these days, Wenger ranks alongside Herbert Chapman as Arsenal’s greatest manager and one who to this day still holds the golden trophy for a whole season unbeaten, and long may this record continue!
But all that is left for me to say to Wenger is; “Monsieur Arsène Wenger, merci beaucoup for all that you did for our historical and successful club and thank you for bringing an invincible title, many FA Cups, a few doubles and the likes of Thierry Henry and Ian Wright, to name a few, to life in the English Premier League, you are, and always will be, one of a kind!”
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The truth is it was time.
Man City and Chelsea had become dominant.
Leicester even won a title.
Man United had Mourinho. Tottenham Pochettino and Liverpool got Klopp. The writing was on the wall and everyone except Arsene could see it. A great career but Arsene unfortunately stayed 2/3 seasons too long and the board had to let him go. He was almost 70 years old. The club had not prepared for a post Wenger Arsenal and Emery and Arteta and an entitled fan base has suffered because of it. But the team is now back on track and already we are a top 4/5 club again. And one of Arsene’s proteges and former captains is leading the revival so the Arsene influence lives on.
We’ve not finished 4th so we are top 5 at the moment.
Well summed up Shenel – thank you for being so warm in your article.
I’m not going to go into any more detail, as my personal views of this great man, both in and out of football, should be an inspiration to everyone who values class, honesty, commitment and dedication.
Merci Arsene – you are a legend.
Shenel, Wright predated AW at Arsenal by over four years!
In fact, Under AW, Wrights time was short here, esp as first choice and he was already not first choice by the 1998 double season, less than two years after AW came.