So it’s Wenger’s final game…..ever.
It’s a sad occasion. I’ve wanted him out for a while, but then he is a giant in our club.
He got a great send-off for his final league game at home.
So we need to give him a win, and to stop our bad away form, at least.
This game is essentially the Herbert Chapman Cup play-off since he’s a rightful legend of both clubs. It’s rather ironic that Wenger’s last ever game is against the club with whom we share an all-time great manager. And possibly the only manager in our history (along with Graham) who can rival Wenger’s exploits.
That said, I don’t think it will be easy. Huddersfield have stayed up, and via excellent results vs. City and Chelsea. But I believe they will want to end on a high. And why not? Beating us, especially given our crappy away record, would be a perfect celebratory treat. It’s like on one’s birthday, even if one’s spouse, partner, or children and friends give gifts, one may still buy a large cake or alcoholic drink to mark the occasion.
Will we be Huddersfield’s Premier League status retention treat? The nice large cup-cake to celebrate being Premier League again? These are ways we cannot be:
- Be taken in by the occasion, and win it for Wenger
The players, possibly, have not taken the opportunity to give Wenger a good send-off.
Our results, post the announcement of his departure, have been very mixed.
So we don’t know if they will rise to the occasion or not.
- Be strong and resolute
We’ve lost away from home due to tactical and structural weaknesses. The games we’ve lost have been due to this, ranging from Brighton to Bournemouth, Spurs to Swansea, and Newcastle to Man United. We play well at United, however, we lost due to a last-minute defensive lapse.
The Atletico Madrid tie was lost due to defensive errors also, and this shows why we need to be defensively resolute and not allow Huddersfield to press us, and expose us on the counter-attack.
- Take our chances
PEA is a real boon for us, and he’s prone to be a Golden Boot contender next season. However, we have been burnt for not capitalising on the number of chances we’ve created. Being clinical can prevent this, and ensure we’re not caught out.
- Show our best appreciation for Wenger
Whether we’re Wenger in or out, we cannot deny that he has made an eternal mark on our football club. Maybe, if we show the rightful appreciation to our most successful manager, it can galvanise the players.
There’s no reason, again whether Wenger in or out, to sing “One Arsene Wenger” for the entire match. He warrants as much.
This may seem like a negative preview, but then our recent away form is not very pleasing. So it’s right not to feel confident here. It is possible that Huddersfield may up their game, or lessen it since they cannot go down. Either eventuality is possible here.
However, I believe it’s pretty much that Wagner will have seen our games lately, and want to go out with a bash. It’s just my own hunch, but I don’t concur with the narrative that he will get his team to lie down. Burnley didn’t offer much, but I don’t see lighting striking twice here.
Huddersfield Town 1-2 Arsenal
That said, I believe we will win.
Or at the least, not lose.
In other words both teams to score and Arsenal to win (btts and win)
The law of averages states we must win away some time. And the players (even if Wenger doesn’t need to care) owe it to themselves to not let the new manager come in and win an away match to prove his value immediately. Max doesn’t need to come in and win a game away (one can see whom I want to succeed Wenger…..)
But as it is Wenger’s last game, ever, I will mention some of his prime away games, for posterity if anything else:
- Man United 0-1 Arsenal 1998
This is where the league, and the Double, was won in my mind.
- Liverpool 1-2 Arsenal 2001
I believe the 2002 Double was won here, if not in spirit. We got revenge for the FA Cup final loss and won at Anfield with ten men.
- Man United 0-1 Arsenal 2002
I believe this is one of the most satisfying league games we’ve ever had in our history. And we reminded them of it lately, when we said “Arsene Wenger, won the league at your ground!!”
- Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal 2011
Whilst RvP scored a hattrick, this was one of the most exciting games we’ve seen in Wenger’s tenure.
This is just a brief selection, and there is much more one can cite.
But goodbye Mr Wenger.
And let’s get a win as our manager rides into the sunset.