Arsenal won for the first time away from home in the league this year and love was in the air for Arsene Wenger.
While they not be famed for their warmth and generosity in these parts, this was a decent send-off for the departing Frenchman, whose 1,235th and final match in charge of the Gunners was won thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang’s first-half tap-in. It started before kick-off. With applause ringing out from all four stands, Wenger strode to the travelling Arsenal fans before performing a bow. Love was all around, especially in the Gunners defence.
Huddersfield could have been two up before the visitors registered their first effort. Steve Mounie’s header was prompted a super save from David Ospina, while Tom Ince fired over from close range.
Huddersfield celebrated the point that sealed their miracle at Chelsea in midweek with a West End knees up that lasted until 5am but it was their visitors who looked like they were suffering from a hangover.
‘Arsene Wenger – Arsenal legend’ and ‘Merci, Arsene, we’ll miss you’ were the messages. The apparent change of heart was not lost on the Huddersfield supporters, whose observant chant of ‘You two-faced b******s, you wanted him out,’ was met with a humorous ‘Herbert Chapman, he left ‘cos you’re ****,’ from the away end.’ It was that kind of afternoon.
There was further recognition for the departing Frenchman, when the crowd rose as one on 22 minutes (one for each of his years in charge) to deliver a standing ovation.
Wenger even obliged the travelling support with a wave. Finally, Arsenal emerged from their slumber and should have been in front when full-back Sead Kolasinac found himself alone in front of goal from a corner but could only prod wide.
Then we had a reminder of how it is supposed to be when Henrikh Mkhitarytan linked with Alexandre Lacazette, who found Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman crossed low to the far post and Aubameyang slid home. It was the type of lightning, fleet-footed strike Arsenal became famous for under their manager. This was the £56m man’s tenth top flight goal since his January arrival. Only Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane have done better.
Wenger’s replacement will have something to work with.