On Friday 20th April 2018, Arsenal announced that Arsene Wenger was to step down as the club’s longest-serving manager after 22 years at the helm.
Wenger was a revolutionary for the English game, changing the way managers approach training regimes, player diets and data analysis. It was his dream to complete an entire Premier League season unbeaten and that feat was achieved with ‘The Invincibles’ side of 2003-2004. The likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell and Dennis Bergkamp playing a crucial role in the Gunners going through a season undefeated. They eventually went 49 league matches without losing.
In recent seasons, success had given way to frustration and protests which included banners, aeroplanes calling for his departure and eventually, supporters deciding not to turn up to home matches. This was despite keeping Arsenal in the top four for 19 successive seasons and becoming the most successful foreign manager in the history of the FA Cup. The end was near and it was time for a change as Arsenal started to slip further away from the other prime Premier League challengers.
In his final home match as the club’s manager, Arsenal put in a splendid display of attacking football, beating Burnley 5-0 with goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac, Alex Iwobi and two from his final-ever signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A final day victory at Huddersfield meant Wenger finished with three titles and 476 Premier League wins. He has been succeeded by Unai Emery.
Although there were some very awkward moments in the closing years of his reign, Wenger’s legacy should never be tarnished. He has to be considered as one of the most influential figures the Premier League has ever seen.