LONDON • "I will miss you" were the heartfelt words Arsene Wenger told Arsenal fans after being given a fitting farewell in his final home game in charge after 22 years with a 5-0 rout of Burnley on Sunday.
On a day dominated by tributes to the Frenchman, both teams formed a guard of honour for Wenger, 68, before kick-off to a chorus of "There's only one Arsene Wenger".
All around a full house of 60,000 at the Emirates - in stark contrast to recent league games when fans have stayed away in protest at a poor season - people sported red T-shirts emblazoned with "Merci Arsene" (Thank you Arsene).
"Thank you for having me for such a long time. I know that's not easy but, above all, I am like you, I am an Arsenal fan," Wenger said at a post-match presentation on the Emirates turf.
"My successor inherits a team that is much better than people think it is. With the right additions this team will challenge next year.
"I would like to finish by one simple word: I will miss you. Thank you all for being such an important part of my life. I will cherish every moment I was here but as well it's a new start for me."
I think I 'played' 840 Premier League games. Do you know what that means, how many sleepless nights?
If you can offer me a ticket for the North Bank - you know what the positive of that is: I can shout at the next manager.
Premier League talking points
1 THE BEST JUDGE OF HIS MEN
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho made six changes for the 1-0 defeat at Brighton, and did not spare those who flopped at their chance to audition for the FA Cup final in two weeks' time.
With Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez absent through injury, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial failed to impress.
"For many months, you are always asking me why this player doesn't play? Why that player doesn't play? Why this player is on the bench? Why always Lukaku?" said Mourinho. "You know why now. I know my players better than you."
2 SWANS NEED MOTIVATION
After the 1-0 defeat at Bournemouth, the bounce effect from Carlos Carvalhal's appointment in December is now a distant memory for Swansea supporters. But, if anyone is capable of reviving his players before their crucial week, it is their enigmatic manager.
Today's meeting with Southampton could be a chance to take a giant stride towards safety before their last game, against Stoke.
The Portuguese will need to motivate a group of players who appear bereft of confidence after seven matches without a win. Finding a regular source of goals is another prime issue.
3 MOORE'S MAGIC TOUCH
West Bromwich Albion's 1-0 stoppage-time win over Tottenham on Saturday extended their unbeaten run under Darren Moore, taking them into the final week with a slim chance of escaping relegation.
The Baggies are capable of winning at Crystal Palace but it may be too late if the Swansea-Southampton game today produces a winner. Whatever happens, Moore has shown he is a serious candidate for the position of full-time manager.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN
Wenger won three Premier Leagues and a record seven FA Cups. His crowning glory came in the 2003-04 "Invincibles" season when Arsenal won the league without losing a single game.
There was also plenty for the supporters to shout about on Sunday, as Arsenal displayed the attractive brand of attacking football that characterised Wenger's most successful sides over the past two decades.
Defeat by Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final last Thursday means Arsenal missed out on Champions League qualification for the second consecutive season. But they bounced back in style to secure the small consolation of ensuring sixth place in the Premier League ahead of Burnley.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored twice to take his tally for the club to eight in 12 appearances while Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac and Alex Iwobi netted the others in a five-star performance.
Wenger suggested that once relieved of his duties as manager in a week's time, he could think about life as a fan of the London club - and have fun shouting at his successor.
"I think I 'played' 840 Premier League games. Do you know what that means, how many sleepless nights?" he said jokingly.
"I have to learn to reconnect with myself now that I have a bit more time. I would be happy to sit in the stadium's North Bank (as a spectator), but it depends if I work somewhere else or not, or in the job I do will I be free on the day Arsenal play.
"If you can offer me a ticket for the North Bank - you know what the positive of that is: I can shout at the next manager."
Wenger also gave his best wishes to former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson - his long-time rival and friend in recent years - who is in intensive care after emergency surgery for a brain haemorrhage.
"I was with him on the pitch last week. I went to see him in the box after the game and he looked in perfect shape," said Wenger, referring to Arsenal's 2-1 loss to United on April 29.
"He told me he is doing a lot of exercise, and he looked very happy but that kind of accident can happen. We wish him all well and to recover very quickly. He is a strong man and an optimistic man."
Arsenal will travel to Leicester tomorrow and to Huddersfield on Sunday for their two remaining matches.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN