Huddersfield 0-1 Arsenal: Arsene Wenger's reign ends in victory
By Oliver Yew
Last Updated: 13/05/18 6:10pm
Arsene Wenger's tenure as Arsenal manager finished on a high after his side secured a 1-0 victory against Huddersfield at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Wenger announced he would be leaving the Gunners after 22 years and 1,235 games in charge three weeks ago and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang's 38th-minute goal ensured the Frenchman was given a fitting send-off.
It was his 716th win as Arsenal manager and it sees also sees the Gunners pick up their first away points in 2018 as they finish sixth in the table to confirm Europa League football for next season.
Meanwhile, Huddersfield, who secured their survival with a draw at Chelsea in midweek, can look forward to another season of Premier League football despite their final-day defeat, confirming a 16th-place finish.
Wenger was greeted by a guard of honour and marvellous reception ahead of kick-off in what was a party atmosphere at the John Smith's Stadium. Arsenal and Huddersfield fans alike applauded the Frenchman as he walked over to acknowledge the away end before the match, bowing in front of the travelling supporters.
Huddersfield: Lossl (7), Hadergjonaj (6), Jorgensen (7), Schindler (7), Kongolo (7), Lowe (6), Hogg (6), Mooy (7), Pritchard (7), Ince (8), Mounie (7).
Subs: Depoitre (6), Billing (6), Whitehead (n/a)
Arsenal: Ospina (8), Bellerin (6), Mustafi (7), Holding (7), Kolasinac (7), Ramsey (6), Xhaka (7), Iwobi (6), Mkhitaryan (6), Lacazette (7), Aubameyang (7).
Subs: Welbeck (7), Monreal (6), Maitland-Niles (6).
Man of the match: David Ospina
Huddersfield started the brighter of the two sides and they should have been ahead in the 11th minute when Alex Pritchard's cut-back picked out Tom Ince, but the winger's shot sailed high over the crossbar.
The tributes to Wenger continued to come during the game as two planes flew over the Stadium, carrying messages of support for the Frenchman. "Merci Arsene, we will miss you too," one read in response to Wenger's goodbye speech last week, while the other read: "#OneArseneWenger".
Then, after 22 minutes, the entire stadium rose as one to applaud Wenger - marking the length of his reign - with chants of "there's only one Arsene Wenger" also springing up throughout pockets of the home support as well as the entire away end.
There was even more for Wenger to smile about when his side took the lead with what was their first real clear-cut opportunity of the game. It was a goal that Wenger would certainly have approved of as Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan combined with some slick one-touch passing before Aubameyang slid in to convert Aaron Ramsey's cross to score his ninth Premier League goal.
David Wagner made four changes for the visit of Arsenal. Florent Hadergjonaj came back into the side, replacing Tommy Smith, who dropped to the bench. Alex Pritchard also returned to the side for Rajiv van La Parra, while Tom Ince and Steve Mounie also returned.
Arsenal also made four changes as Arsene Wenger named his final starting XI. Petr Cech, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Danny Welbeck and the suspended Konstantinos Mavropanos were replaced by David Ospina, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and Alexandre Lacazette.
After the break, Huddersfield went close to an equaliser through Ince, whose low shot looked destined for the bottom corner until David Ospina got his fingertips to the ball.
There was almost a final sting in the tail for Arsenal but Aaron Mooy's powerful strike clipped the top of the crossbar and Laurent Depoitre's header was snaffled by Ospina as the Gunners held on as Wenger signed off with a victory.
- This was Arsene Wenger's 1235th and final game as Arsenal manager - his final record with the Gunners was W707 D280 L248.
- The John Smith's Stadium was the 48th different ground Wenger won at in the Premier League - more than any other manager in the competition (Alex Ferguson 47).
- Huddersfield have failed to score in 21 different Premier League games this season - only Derby (22 in 2007-08) have ever failed in more in a single campaign.
- This was the first away game Arsenal won in the Premier League in which Alexis Sanchez didn't score since October 2016 (1-0 at Burnley thanks to Laurent Koscielny's goal). It was also the first time Arsenal kept a Premier League clean sheet on the road since December (0-0 vs West Ham), having conceded in each of their last nine before today.
- 1-0 was Arsene Wenger's third most common scoreline in Arsenal games in all competitions (124), after 1-1 and 2-1 (127 each).
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 14 goals in just 13 Premier League games (10 goals, 4 assists). Only Alan Shearer (16), Mick Quinn (16) and Kevin Phillips were involved in more in their first 13 in the competition.
There were not many contenders for Gareth Southgate’s squad on show at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Danny Welbeck appeared from Arsenal bench to play the last 23 minutes and he used his pace to good effect on the left flank, but his finishing wasn’t quite up to scratch.Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere wasn’t named in Arsene Wenger’s final squad.
Man of the Match - David Ospina
Huddersfield bombarded Arsenal with crosses into the box but Wenger's defence was helped out by a commanding performance from Ospina.
The Colombian goalkeeper dominated his penalty area to great effect and his handling was excellent.
He also made a couple of crucial saves, in particular to deny Laurent Depoitre right on the goal line in stoppage time.