Huddersfield 0 Arsenal 1

Arsene Wenger’s 1,235-game reign as Arsenal manager came to an end with a victory over Huddersfield on the final day of the Premier League season. The game had little riding on it, with Huddersfield having already avoided relegation and Arsenal finishing sixth no matter what, and was played in front of a carnival atmosphere at John Smith’s Stadium. Wenger came out to a rapturous reception and went over to applaud the Arsenal fans, taking a bow before kick-off. Both sets of fans gave him a standing ovation after 22 minutes – to celebrate his 22 years in English football with the Gunners – and two planes flew over the ground in the early stages with banners celebrating the Frenchman.

Wenger brought three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups, including two Doubles, to Arsenal – but leaves them in the lowest position since he arrived, sixth. In fact this win over Huddersfield was the first time in eight attempts they have picked up any points away from home in the Premier League in 2018 – making them the last professional team in England to do so. Their goal was scored by Wenger’s final signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as he slid home a low cross from their longest-serving player, Aaron Ramsey. Terriers midfielder Aaron Mooy almost denied Wenger his farewell win late on as his shot crashed off the crossbar.

The Gunners’ sixth-placed finish is their worst under Wenger, and seven consecutive away Premier League defeats before this game tell their own story. They were slightly fortunate to send Wenger off with a victory, with the only goal coming when Alexandre Lacazette passed the ball wide to Aaron Ramsey, who delivered an excellent low cross which Aubameyang turned home. The Gunners only had four shots on target, with Lacazette chipping into Jonas Lossl’s hands and Danny Welbeck firing straight at the goalkeeper in the second half. Now Arsenal have to find a replacement for Wenger and when the 2018-19 season starts, there will be a manager other than the Frenchman in the dugout for the first time since 1996.

Arsenal Update : Enrique Fav? & Kos Out For 6 Months

Arsenal are confident of naming a successor to Arsene Wenger before the World Cup kicks off next month. The Frenchman, who has two more games as manager, is leaving the club after almost 22 years. The Gunners have no specific deadline for the recruitment process, but an announcement is expected before the tournament starts in Russia on 14 June.

Ex-Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has been linked with the job, and seems to be the favourite by bookies and experts to become manager, along with Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. Former Arsenal midfielders Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira have also been suggested as potential successors, as have Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim and three-time Champions League winner Carlo Ancelotti.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny will be out for six months after surgery on a ruptured Achilles tendon, says Gunners manager Arsene Wenger. Koscielny, 32, was carried off 12 minutes into Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final second leg defeat by Atletico Madrid last Thursday. France manager Didier Deschamps had already confirmed the centre-back would miss this summer’s World Cup.

Arsenal 5 Burnley 0

Arsenal turned on the style to thrash Burnley in Arsene Wenger’s final home game as manager. The 68-year-old, who has won 10 major trophies during a near 22-year reign, oversaw a dominant, free-flowing display in his 1,233rd game, with slick first-half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Sead Kolasinac scored with a powerful low drive after the break, and another goal was started and finished explosively by Alex Iwobi, one of 83 academy graduates to come through the ranks under Wenger. Aubameyang got his second from close range to complete the rout.

Listless Burnley, who had their Europa League qualification confirmed on Saturday, lost striker Ashley Barnes to a 22nd-minute suspected dislocated shoulder, but will nevertheless finish an impressive campaign in seventh. Wenger was given a guard of honour by both teams before kick-off and fans of both sides frequently chanted “There’s only one Arsene Wenger”. Arsenal’s supporters also sang the name of former midfielder Patrick Vieira, who has been among the candidates tipped to take over at the Emirates next season. Red T-shirts bearing the phrase “Merci Arsene” were draped over seats for the home fans to wear, and the slogan was also emblazoned on a banner across the front of the stadium.

The outgoing manager was presented with the golden trophy given to the club after their 2003-04 unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season on the pitch after the match. Addressing the fans, he wished seriously-ill former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson a swift recovery before saying: “Thank you for having me for such a long time. Above all, I am like you – an Arsenal fan. “For me, this group of players I leave behind me has a special quality. Please support them really well next season because they deserve it. “I would like to finish with one simple phrase – I will miss you. Thank you for being such an important part of my life and I hope to see you soon.” German defender Per Mertesacker also said farewell to the Emirates, appearing as a second-half substitute before his retirement at the end of the season.

Also saying goodbye was veteran kit-man and Arsenal Ladies pioneer Vic Akers, who is leaving the Gunners after 33 years. Arsenal’s players delivered a vintage Wenger performance for his poignant home farewell. Or ‘Total Wengerball’, as it was dubbed on the club’s Twitter account. The “collective football” that the Frenchman has championed, often involving at least three players in moves and at times attempting to elevate the beautiful game to an artform, was very much in evidence. The Gunners made 664 passes to Burnley’s 368 overall, and both goals in the opening 45 minutes came after slick, quick-passing moves.

That continued after the break when Jack Wilshere, who is out of contract in the summer and could also depart, with no new deal agreed, broke impressively and slipped in Kolasinac to score with a low arrowed drive. Wilshere received a standing ovation when he was substituted. Iwobi’s goal was another deftly-constructed treat that left Burnley chasing shadows, and Aubameyang – who has now had a hand in 12 goals in 11 Premier League appearances – showed his prowess with the fifth. Danny Welbeck, who replaced Lacazette, could have made it six but smashed the bar with a late volley from Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s pass. This three points will make no difference to Arsenal’s sixth-placed finish this term, and they have missed out on a top-four spot for the second straight season.

Atletico Madrid 1 Arsenal 0

Manager Arsene Wenger will not be given a last chance to lift silverware with Arsenal after they were beaten 2-1 on aggregate by Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-final. With the score 1-1 from the first leg, former Chelsea striker Diego Costa returned to the Atletico side to haunt the Gunners again and it was his composed chip on the brink of half-time which ended their European hopes. Antoine Griezmann slipped the crucial pass through to Costa after coming close with a powerful strike from a tight angle. Arsenal were crestfallen going into the break but almost responded within minutes of the restart when Aaron Ramsey found himself through on goal. His touch let him down and the chance was wasted – as were a number of opportunities for the visitors throughout the second half.

A bad night was made worse for Arsenal when captain Laurent Koscielny was carried off with an Achilles injury, which may rule the Frenchman out of this summer’s World Cup. Two-time champions Atletico will now face Marseille in their third Europa League final in eight years in Lyon on 16 May. Defeat for Arsenal means they will miss out on Champions League football for the second straight season. Wenger, who will leave the Gunners at the end of the season after 22 years in charge, has never won a European trophy with the club. There was a sense of inevitability when Costa’s chipped effort hit the back of the net.

But Arsenal were ultimately made to suffer for their missed chances and conceding a late away goal in the first leg, having played against 10 men for 80 minutes at the Emirates and only scoring once from 28 shots in a game they totally dominated. In Madrid, Alexandre Lacazette hesitated when he was played in by Aaron Ramsey in the first half and Monreal’s poor control let him down shortly afterwards. Granit Xhaka’s long-range effort was palmed away by Jan Oblak and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s volley skimmed the top netting. Diego Godin blocked everything that came his way, as Mesut Ozil, Ramsey and Hector Bellerin failed to find a breakthrough from wide positions. Wenger will end his Arsenal tenure at Huddersfield in the final league game of the season on 13 May.

Holding Signs Contract Extention

Rob Holding has signed a new contract at Arsenal, the club have confirmed. The 22-year-old joined the Gunners from Bolton Wanderers in 2016 in a £2 million deal, and has since gone on to win the FA Cup and the Community Shield with the club. Holding has made 26 appearances in all competitions this season, even scoring in the 4-2 group stage win over BATE Borisov in the Europa League.

The club has not confirmed the exact length of Holding’s contract extension, but he has signed a “long-term” deal. Holding has played for England at various youth levels, and has won five caps for the Under-21 team, though he has yet to gain senior recognition. The news ensures Holding will be at Arsenal next season regardless of who succeeds Arsene Wenger as manager. The Frenchman is set to resign this summer, though he has suggested that the announcement was not “his decision”.

Nevertheless, Holding is to continue providing support for the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Per Mertesacker and Shkodran Mustafi.

Arsenal New Manager Rumours

Here are some rumours from today about who will possibly replace Arsene Wenger when he steps down at the end of the current season. The first one will have most fans’ scratching their heads as he has not been discussed so far.

Numerous managers have been tipped to replace Wenger, with Juventus’ Max Allegri, Germany boss Joachim Low and former Barcelona chief Luis Enrique all linked. However, according to Bosnian publication Pravda BL, Jurgen Klopp’s No.2 Buvac will succeed Wenger. Liverpool announced yesterday that the Serbian will spend some time away from the Reds in the coming weeks, citing “personal reasons” for his leave of absence. They also claimed Buvac, nicknamed ‘the brain’, will return to Anfield. However, Pravda BL say Buvac will take over at Arsenal, with the Liverpool coach desperate to become a manager. They reckon everything is in place for Klopp’s No.2 to take over at the Emirates this summer.

Another rumour/gossip states that Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with Carlo Ancelotti to succeed Arsene Wenger, it has been claimed. Ancelotti is among the contenders to be named the new Arsenal boss and fancies the task of rebuilding Wenger’s crumbling empire, according toTuttoMercatoWeb columnist Tancredi Palmeri.

But Palmeri claims talks between the two parties have hit the wall after failing to agree personal terms. Ancelotti is reportedly demanding around £8.8m (€10m) to take on the job but Arsenal are only willing to offer half. Palmeri suggests Ancelotti could still take the job – but he would have to accept the Gunners’ £4.4m (€5m) offer. The Italian has been out of work since being axed by Bayern Munich last September.

Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1

Arsene Wenger’s final trip to Manchester United as Arsenal manager ended in an agonising defeat after an injury-time winner from Marouane Fellaini. The Belgium international flicked a header past Gunners goalkeeper David Ospina from an Ashley Young cross. Just three minutes earlier he had headed against the post, with Marcus Rashford bundling home the rebound from an offside position. United had opened the scoring on 16 minutes when a header from former Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez was knocked on to the post by Hector Bellerin and Paul Pogba stabbed home the rebound for his third goal in four league games.

The hosts lost striker Romelu Lukaku to injury early in the second half, and moments later Henrikh Mkhitaryan was left in plenty of space to weave and strike through the legs of Victor Lindelof. The game’s tempo petered out after the equaliser – until Fellaini – who Jose Mourinho says is close to a new contract – popped up to snatch the win for United, and secure Champions League football for next season. The atmosphere did change after Pogba’s opener, with the home crowd chanting ‘we want you to stay’ and the Arsenal fans responding: ‘Arsene Wenger, he won the league here.’

Wenger opted to make eight changes to his team, with one eye on Thursday’s Europa League semi-final second leg at Atletico Madrid, which is poised at 1-1. With an average age of 24 years and 67 days, it was Arsenal’s youngest starting XI in the Premier League since August 2011 – in their infamous 8-2 defeat at Old Trafford. It was a different story this time around. The Gunners made few mistakes and looked lively in parts, with Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Danny Welbeck testing United keeper David de Gea. Mkhitaryan produced a cool and accurate finish for his goal, before being taken off with a knee injury which will be assessed before Thursday. But three defenders failed to deal with a rising Fellani in the box as he headed home a winning goal that meant Arsenal remain the only team in England’s top five tiers without an away win in 2018.

Arsenal 1 Atletico Madrid 1

Antoine Griezmann punished Arsenal’s lax defence late on as 10-man Atletico Madrid salvaged a draw from the Europa League semi-final first leg at Emirates Stadium. The visitors were on the back foot for almost the entire game after defender Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed for two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes. With Atletico’s furious manager Diego Simeone sent to the stands shortly afterwards, the Spanish side survived unscathed to half-time with Alexandre Lacazette clipping the post with a half-volley in the hosts’ best chance. Lacazette nodded in Jack Wilshere’s cross just after the hour to apparently edge the Gunners closer to a Europa League final send-off for outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.

But with eight minutes remaining Griezmann latched onto a long ball forward, shrugged off Laurent Koscielny and stabbed into the net at the second attempt for an away goal to swing the tie Atletico’s way going into the second leg in Madrid next Thursday. Arsenal’s fans were left ruing a familiar combination of wasteful finishing and costly lapses in concentration as the teams departed to a muted response in Wenger’s final home European game. Their team now must breach an Atletico defence that has conceded just four times at home in La Liga this season to have any hope of extending Wenger’s 22-season spell in charge to the final on 16 May. In contrast to Arsenal, Atletico Madrid’s defensive discipline has served them well in recent continental campaigns, grinding out victory in four of their five European semi-finals over the past nine seasons.

But the Spaniards’ usual pragmatism deserted them as they self-combusted in the opening 13 minutes. Croatian right-back Vrsaljko was booked as he caught Jack Wilshere late in the second minute and, instead of showing the requisite caution, blundered into Lacazette with his studs up eight minutes later. So early in the contest, Atletico may have expected referee Clement Turpin to limit punishment to a stern and final warning. But the 35-year-old Frenchman judged the challenge rather than the occasion and showed Vrsaljko a justified second yellow. Simeone was exasperated by that decision and incensed by Turpin opting not to book Hector Bellerin shortly after. The Argentine was dispatched to the stands after aiming a stream of invective at the official.

Wenger has twice lost in European finals with Arsenal, missing out in a penalty shootout against Galatasaray in the 2000 Uefa Cup final, before being broken down by Barcelona in the Champions League final six years later. It will require one of Arsenal’s great European displays to take him to a third.

Who Will Replace Wenger At Arsenal?

Luis Enrique emerging as a strong candidate and understood to be keen, but chief executive Ivan Gazidis is committed to a thorough process. Max Allegri, Mikel Arteta, Leonardo Jardim, Julian Nagelsmann, Carlo Ancellotti and Joachim Löw are all seen as possible replacements who could do a good job at the club. Allegri along with Diego Simeone seem to the favourites according to fans as to who they (me included) want to see in charge at Arsenal. Eddie Howe (Bournemouth) Rafa Benetiz, Patrick Vieira &Thomas Tuchel are also names that have been discussed.

After having had one man in charge for 22 years, it is understandable that fans & critics alike are extremely curious and excited about who could replace Wenger at the club. There are so many discussions going on including one that states that the club already have the replacement decided and signed up but are waiting on announcing it. Possibly to see Wenger have his moments enjoying the farewells until the end of the season and then announce the new man in charge.

Whoever it will be, he has a big job on his hands to shape up the defense which will mean selling and buying a few players. He also needs to sort out the goalkeeper situation as Cech is past his prime and Ospina hasn’t impressed as a possible number one. Keeping Cech or Ospina as a solid backup will make good sense. We need to get really good defenders and a a holding midfielder to backup our strong forwards.

Arsenal 4 West Ham United 1

Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal farewell started in the perfect manner as the Gunners scored three goals in seven second-half minutes to ease to victory against West Ham at the Emirates. This was the first match since Wenger announced he would be leaving the club at the end of the season on Friday, after almost 22 years. Victory was also the perfect warm-up to Thursday’s Europa League semi-final first-leg against Atletico Madrid. The Gunners had taken the lead on 51 minutes after Nacho Monreal volleyed in from a corner, but Marko Arnautovic equalised just after the hour mark, rifling a shot past David Ospina.

Aaron Ramsey put the hosts back into the lead in the 82nd minute when his tame cross was not dealt with by Hammers’ defender Declan Rice and Joe Hart could only watch as the ball rolled in at his far post. Alexandre Lacazette made it three as his close-range shot beat Hart at the near post in the 85th minute, before the Frenchman sidefooted in his second four minutes later. One negative for Wenger will be an injury to Mohamed Elneny, who was taken off the pitch on a stretcher after injuring his foot in a 50-50 challenge with Mark Noble towards the end of the first half.

Victory keeps Arsenal sixth, 11 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with four games remaining, but while they can still mathematically finish in the top four, their most likely route into the Champions League is by winning the Europa League. West Ham, who had dominated much of the first half, drop to 15th place, six points from the drop zone. Wenger made five changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Newcastle last week. Some were enforced, while others were made with the Europa League in mind. Record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang started on the bench and Petr Cech missed out with a hip injury.

Mesut Ozil missed the game with illness, while Jack Wilshere and Sead Kolasinac had ankle injuries. Despite Wenger’s impending departure, the Emirates lacked a celebratory mood as the teams came out. There were empty seats, no fanfare and the Frenchman snuck into his dugout. The first half gave Arsenal fans little to cheer about as the visitors dominated the early exchanges. Granit Xhaka had their only shot on target as his free-kick stung the palms of Hart, while Danny Welbeck wasted a number of chances.

Shkodran Mustafi struggled in defence against Arnautovic and there were warning signs ahead of a meeting with one of the world’s best strikers in Atletico’s Antoine Griezmann. Despite deservedly taking the lead after half-time, their defensive frailties were exposed again for the equaliser. The introduction of Aubameyang in the 70th minute lifted the team and the fans. Hart was twice forced into action, first by Xhaka and then by Welbeck, before Ramsey’s goal started a late flourish as Arsenal finished in style.

Wenger : Good Riddance

So we are hearing a lot of reports that Arsene Wenger was asked to resign aka sacked by the Arsenal board. Realistically, there were three scenarios for Wenger. Stay until the end of the season, perhaps win the Europa League along the way and then announce his departure, one of those “mutual consent” deals that clubs use to mask sackings. Another was hanging in there by his fingernails and getting the metaphorical bullet come the end of May. The third is the path he chose after it became clear to him that nothing, not even a European trophy and a return to the Champions League, was going to change Arsenal’s collective mind to get rid of him.

It had gone on too far – he has been so arrogant and he talks utter nonsense in interviews. Really, who did he think he was fooling? Perhaps himself and a load of AKB’s who don’t know anything but Wenger. The asshole had to go. He blamed the fans, he blamed the media, he blamed everyone – everyone but who he should have actually have blamed! Himself! The guy was a joke towards the end. A dinosaur beyond his prime. He was stubborn and pigheaded and so full of himself. Yes he has good things being said about him from players who have fond memories but I could not wait to see the last of him.

So goodbye you moron. Good riddance! We come to the end of the Wenger out protests and the empty seats that fans have become accustomed to seeing this year.

Arsene Wenger To Step Down As Arsenal Manager

Arsene Wenger has announced he is stepping down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season, bringing an end to a 21-and-a-half-year reign that brought unprecedented early success but has seen a late decline that made his position increasingly untenable. Wenger issued a statement earlier today that caught everyone by surprise, announcing his departure and thanking the club for letting him serve for “so many memorable years.”He added: “After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season. I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.

“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.” Arsenal said a new manager will be appointed “as soon as possible.” Club chief executive Ivan Gazidis is scheduled to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. local time on Friday. According to Press Association Sport, Wenger asked Arsenal to hold off announcing his decision to leave the club so he could inform his players first.

Wenger was keen to tell the Arsenal players himself and did so ahead of training at their London Colney base and minutes before the news was made public by the club. His coaching staff were also informed of the decision in advance, although club staff working at the Emirates Stadium rather than the training ground discovered the news at the same time as everyone else. Speculation surrounding the Frenchman’s future has been rampant in recent months, with Arsenal set to miss out on a top-four finish in the Premier League for the second year running. Still, there was a general feeling that he could still save his job and see out the remaining year of his contract if Arsenal won the Europa League, thus qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Newcastle United 2 Arsenal 1

Newcastle passed the 40-point mark and all but secured their Premier League future by beating Arsenal, whose terrible away record in 2018 continued. Matt Ritchie’s 68th-minute goal earned the Magpies their fourth straight league win and put them on 41 points with five games remaining, 13 clear of relegation. Arsenal, who reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow in Russia on Thursday, are the only team in England’s top four divisions yet to earn an away league point in 2018. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, playing for the first time together, had linked up for Arsenal’s opener in the 14th minute.

The Gabon striker received Shkodran Mustafi’s chip and clipped the ball to the far post for the arriving Lacazette to slide in and score. Ayoze Perez equalised just before the half-hour mark, running in past Shkodran Mustafi, to guide in DeAndre Yedlin’s cross at the near post. Calum Chambers should have put Arsenal back in front towards the end of the half, but he pushed an attempt wide as he slid in to meet Mustafi’s header. It took until the 67th minute for either side to have a shot in the second half, with Ritchie then getting the winner a minute later. Nacho Monreal failed to clear the ball and substitute Islam Slimani’s header was flicked on by Perez into the path of Ritchie, who coolly steered his shot past Petr Cech.

Kenedy almost made it three, his shot looping up and hitting the bar. This was another dire away performance from Arsenal, for whom the only way to save their season will be by winning the Europa League to secure automatic Champions League qualification. But they face a semi-final against Atletico Madrid, who are second in La Liga, and based on this display at St James’ Park, victory will be a tall order. Arsene Wenger gave a Premier League debut to 18-year-old midfielder Joe Willock, while Hector Bellerin was not in the squad.

CSKA Moscow 2 Arsenal 2

Arsenal reached the Europa League semi-finals with a 6-3 aggregate win over CSKA Moscow despite a nervy 2-2 draw in Russia. Arsene Wenger’s side were trailing 2-0 and under pressure when Danny Welbeck’s second-half goal gave them breathing space. The hosts, who led through Fedor Chalov and Kirill Nababkin, went close to drawing level on aggregate and leading on away goals as Petr Cech saved Aleksandr Golovin’s free-kick and Sergei Ignashevich shot narrowly wide. Arsenal, the leading scorers in the competition, did not have an effort on target in the first 70 minutes, and Laurent Koscielny wasted a glorious chance before Welbeck struck.

Aaron Ramsey’s goal in stoppage time made certain of their progress into the last four alongside Atletico Madrid, Marseille and Salzburg. Viktor Goncharenko’s men had dreamed of an upset when Chalov reacted before Shkodran Mustafi to score the opener after Cech saved Nabakin’s header. Cech was at fault when he could only parry Golovin’s strike from 25 yards and Nababkin reacted first to double the hosts’ lead. But Arsenal, who lost midfielder Jack Wilshere to injury, kept their nerve to enter the semi-final draw, which takes place in Nyon, Switzerland, at 11:00 BST on Friday.

Arsenal’s Europa League dream lives on – just – after a tense night in Moscow, and Wenger can still hope for his first European trophy with the Gunners. With CSKA leading and asking some severe questions of the visitors, it required Welbeck – who scored twice against Southampton after what Wenger described as a “dark” time in his career – to save the day. He latched on to a wonderful Mohamed Elneny pass to finish calmly 15 minutes from time. That goal knocked the stuffing out of an impressive CSKA, who recovered well from losing influential Russia midfielder Alan Dzagoev to injury in the first half. Ramsey, who needed treatment to a badly cut foot, showed similar cool when one on one with Igor Akinfeev with the local time past midnight. Arsenal will face Athletico Madrid in the semi-finals.

Arsenal 3 Southampton FC 2

Danny Welbeck ended a goalless run of 16 Premier League matches when he scored two and assisted the other as Arsenal overcame a spirited Southampton at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had made seven changes with Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against CSKA Moscow in mind, and trailed when Shane Long capitalised on a first-half mix-up between keeper Petr Cech and centre-back Shkodran Mustafi. But the hosts recovered to lead after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang prodded in his sixth goal since joining from Borussia Dortmund for £56m in January, then Welbeck – who created the leveller with a clever flick – got his first league goal since September.

Southampton then equalised when substitute Charlie Austin turned in Cedric Soares’ cross but Welbeck headed Arsenal back in front after both sides missed a string of chances, leaving the visitors deep in relegation trouble. Mark Hughes’ men, who had defender Jack Stephens sent off in added time before Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny was also dismissed, remain 18th in the table and three points from safety. The south-coast outfit also had a second Long goal ruled out for offside and defender Wesley Hoedt saw his header cleared off the line by Elneny. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had kept the visitors’ second-half hopes alive with a string of impressive stops to deny Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi.

Arsenal won over their supporters with a display of grit to keep their winning momentum going as the focus shifts to Europe again. It is now six consecutive triumphs in all competitions and they sit sixth in the Premier League table. They seem almost certain to miss out on the top four again this season after that happened last term for the first time in 20 years. But even without the influential Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere in their starting line-up they had the mental strength to take all three points against determined opposition. After leading twice, two late red cards and and a surprisingly loud roar at the final whistle, there was certainly entertainment at the Emirates on Sunday despite the empty seats.

Arsenal 4 CSKA Moscow

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says his side have done “half a job” after a “spectacular” first-half performance saw the Gunners take control of their Europa League quarter-final by demolishing CSKA Moscow in the first leg. Alexandre Lacazette and Aaron Ramsey scored two goals each as the Gunners hit four in 26 minutes before half-time. Arsenal were unable to add to their tally in the second half but they will head to Russia’s capital for the second leg next Thursday with a commanding lead. Ramsey’s side-foot finish set Arsenal on their way.

Aleksandr Golovin levelled with a sublime free-kick before France striker Lacazette, who has recovered from a knee injury, made it 2-1 with a penalty after Mesut Ozil was fouled by Georgi Schennikov. Ramsey produced a brilliant third with an instinctive volleyed flick, with Lacazette adding a fourth after being picked out by the outstanding Ozil. Arsenal, who have now won five straight games, should have triumphed by a more handsome margin in what was a cracking match. Mkhitaryan missed a great chance early in the second half, while Ramsey fired over the bar after keeper Igor Akinfeev had spilled the ball into his path. Ramsey’s hopes of a hat-trick disappeared when his curling 77th-minute shot hit the post.

Nevertheless, Wenger’s side will be confident of reaching the semi-finals of a competition that provides a team sixth in the Premier League – 13 points off fourth place with seven games left – with their most realistic chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League. Arsenal are certainly warming to the Europa League, collecting their eighth win from 11 games in the competition, scoring 27 times and conceding eight. Assuming there is no second-leg upset in Russia, they still need to negotiate a two-legged semi-final to reach the final in Lyon on 16 May. Yet the way they dismantled CSKA, who started their European campaign in the Champions League, was impressive – although victory came at a cost.

Wenger confirmed after the game that keeper David Ospina, who suffered an ankle injury on the eve of the game, will be out for between two and three weeks, while Mkhitaryan, who was substituted, will miss Sunday’s game against Southampton with a damaged knee.

Arsenal 3 Stoke City 0

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late double set Arsenal on course for victory over relegation-threatened Stoke at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were booed off at half-time by another sparse and subdued home crowd after seeing Aaron Ramsey clip the crossbar with their only clear chance of the first 45 minutes. Arsenal showed greater urgency after the break, although Stoke struck the woodwork through a Xherdan Shaqiri corner before the hosts were awarded a disputed penalty for a foul by Bruno Martins Indi on Mesut Ozil.

Aubameyang converted the spot-kick before firing home from an Ozil corner. And the Gabon striker passed up the chance to claim a hat-trick when Arsenal were awarded another penalty late on. Badou Ndiaye pushed Alexandre Lacazette in the box and the Arsenal substitute converted to round off a scoreline which flattered the Gunners. Despite having 17 days between matches – a result of the international break and being out of the FA Cup – Arsenal looked laboured in possession and had only just got into the ascendancy when the first penalty was awarded. Replays showed that Arsene Wenger’s men were perhaps fortunate as Martins Indi appeared to get his left foot to the ball before catching Ozil from behind.

Ndiaye then fired narrowly wide for Stoke before Arsenal clinched a fourth straight victory with the two late goals. They remain sixth in the Premier League table, five points adrift of Chelsea, in fifth, and 10 behind fourth-placed Tottenham before the London rivals faced each other (16:00 BST). Despite starting on the front foot, Stoke stay second from bottom, three points from safety, after their eighth game without a win. Petr Cech and Granit Xhaka had been ever-presents in the Premier League but they lost their record as Wenger left them out of the starting line-up. Laurent Koscielny was also left on the bench as he is nursing an Achilles problem.

Troy Deeney, Teeny Weeny

The chance of scoring a penalty fell to Watford captain Troy Deeney after Pereyra had been fouled in the penalty area by a combination of Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi. However, Deeney, much to the delight of the home fans, had the resulting spot-kick saved by Cech.

After Watford’s 2-1 win over Arsenal at Vicarage Road in October, Deeney criticised the Gunners’ players and their character. After that match, he said: “There’s a reason they lost. It’s having a bit of cojones. Whenever I play against Arsenal, I’ll go up and think ‘let me whack the first one and see who wants it’. “They all just backed off. For me as a player, I just think ‘happy days’.” But Deeney, who had scored three times in his past four appearances, had a day to forget on Sunday as his penalty was too close to Cech in the middle of the goal, and the Czech saved it.

Where are your cojones Deeney? Or shall we just called you Troy Deeney, Teeney Weeney! You piece of shit, karma just came and bit you in the ass.