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Arsenal 5 Burnley 0

Arsene Wenger ends home reign in style as Europe-bound Clarets run out of gas

6 May 2018

Ruthless Arsenal gave Arsene Wenger the perfect Emirates Stadium send-off as Burnley were unable to spoil the party on their own weekend of celebration.

Both these sides will go into the Europa League next season with Arsenal making sure they will be the ones gaining direct entry into the group stages after handing the Clarets their heaviest defeat of the season to guarantee a sixth-place finish.

For the Gunners, it was a fitting way to mark the 606th and final home game in charge for Wenger, whose 22-year reign as manager will come to an end next weekend.

And while a double from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and further goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi made the Clarets no more than welcome guests, Burnley’s work had already been done in capping a memorable season by sealing a place in Europe for the first time in 51 years.

The Clarets knew that spot was safe following Everton’s 1-1 draw with Southampton on Saturday evening.

And while a first win at Arsenal since 1974 on a landmark day in North London would keep alive the unlikely prospect of overhauling the Gunners for sixth place in the Premier League, this proved a step too far for a team that had already given everything.

Sean Dyche’s side and the manager himself formed a guard of honour for Wenger before kick-off as the Frenchman acknowledged the applause of the Arsenal fans for the last time on home territory.

For all the Gunners’ travails and the end of their hopes of winning a last piece of silverware under Wenger with last Thursday night’s Europa League exit, Arsenal have remained strong at home with six wins in an unbeaten seven-match unbeaten and only two league defeats all season.

And in a carnival-like atmosphere Arsenal were in front after 15 minutes.

Iwobi pierced the Burnley defence with a pass to Lacazette, who swivelled and drilled a low ball across goal for Aubameyang to tap in his seventh goal since his January arrival from Borussia Dortmund.

The Clarets had started without the injured Chris Wood in their line-up and their forward resources were further depleted 10 minutes after going behind when joint leading scorer Ashley Barnes saw his afternoon ended by a painful-looking shoulder injury following a collision with Granit Xhaka.

That brought Sam Vokes into the fray and, despite a battering himself, the striker did his best to give Burnley some joy in the Arsenal half.

The bigger threat still came from the Gunners, though, Henrikh Mkhitaryan twice going close with a flashing volley just over the bar and a shot which Nick Pope beat away as it threatened to swerve past him.

And moments after the Clarets’ best moment of the half – Jack Cork almost getting on the end of a low ball into the box from Jeff Hendrick – Arsenal doubled their lead in stoppage time.

This time right-back Hector Bellerin was the provider with a cross which Lacazette steered inside the six-yard box to claim his 17th goal of the campaign.

That threatened to make it a long afternoon on one of the hottest days of the year but the Clarets started the second half in impressive style as they looked for the goal to get back into the game.

Hendrick, making the most of his return to the side, produced an excellent cross which Vokes met with a header that forced goalkeeper Petr Cech into his first real test.

Vokes also just failed to make contact with a dangerous delivery from Matt Lowton.

But any hopes of a comeback were effectively killed off as Arsenal went 3-0 up eight minutes after the break, full-back Kolasinac drilling a fierce shot across Pope and into the far corner.

The elusive Mkhitaryan then curled an effort just wide as the Gunners looked to end Wenger’s stay in style.

And while the Clarets continued to look more of an attacking force than they had in the opening half, they were picked off again on the break as Arsenal added another with 63 minutes gone.

Aubameyang had plenty of options open to him as he advanced down the left flank and when he chose to pick out Iwobi, the midfielder made no mistake with a clinical finish into the top corner.

Aubameyang helped himself to the fifth with 15 minutes to go as he swept in another Bellerin cross and, with the game long since up, Arsenal were also able to give a farewell to long-serving defender Per Mertesacker before he hangs up his boots at the end of the season.

The home supporters were willing the Germany international to score whenever he joined the attack.

But it was fellow substitute Danny Welbeck who went closest to a sixth when he crashed a shot against the woodwork three minutes from the end of a day that should do nothing to diminish the Clarets’ outstanding away record in a season that will go down in club history.

Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Chambers (Mertesacker 77), Mavropanos, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi, Wilshere (Ramsey 72), Aubameyang, Lacazette (Welbeck 72). Substitutes: Ospina, Monreal, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles.

Burnley: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Lennon (Nkoudou 72), Westwood, Cork, Gudmundsson (Wells 88), Hendrick, Barnes (Vokes 24). Substitutes: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Bardsley.

Booked: Tarkowski

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 59,540


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