Arsene Wenger is keen to win the last game of his Arsenal reign – but more for the players he will be leaving behind than to toast his own farewell.
The Gunners boss will leave the club after almost 22 years at the helm when the final whistle blows at Huddersfield on Sunday.
Arsenal travel to the John Smith’s Stadium knowing they will finish sixth in the Premier League, the lowest ever position under Wenger, as the 68-year-old departs.
A 3-1 defeat at Leicester on Wednesday night means Arsenal have an identical away record to already-relegated West Brom this season, winning just three games on the road and taking three points
away from the Emirates Stadium since the turn of the year.
Wenger wants to address that woeful record against Huddersfield, who will be in a party mood having secured their top-flight status with impressive draws at Manchester City and Chelsea over
the past week.
The outgoing Frenchman believes a rare away victory will be a confidence boost to the squad he is leaving behind.
“I will say to the players, ‘Look we have to prepare for the future, and the best way to do that is to win your last game and go in a positive mind into next season’,” he said.
👏 #htafc would encourage fans to join in a round of applause for @Arsenal Manager ArsÃ¨ne Wenger at the Club's match against the Gunners on Sunday during the 22nd minute.— Huddersfield Town (@htafc) May 11, 2018
ArsÃ¨ne is managing his last @premierleague game for Arsenal after taking over as Manager 22 years ago. (AT) pic.twitter.com/HkLtaSpRzJ
“We have gone through a season of ups and downs but they have always created something special and I would like that to come out in the last game by the way we play it.
“In fairness that’s what they did last at Leicester and I hope that for them, the best way to prepare for next season is to win the next game.”
As his 10 men slipped to defeat at Leicester, the home fans applauded Wenger and chanted his name in tribute to his achievements during his tenure.
He was also treated to a warm reception at Manchester United, a team he battled against for honours in the past, and was pleased to see the respect shown to him, with Huddersfield’s fans likely to follow suit.
“They all love me now! It’s a pleasant surprise,” he joked.
“People respect somewhere that I tried to play football in the right way and I tried to give pleasure to people. The most important thing when you wake up in the morning is to go, ‘oh, I watch Arsenal today – I have a chance to see a good game’.
“That is basically what I tried to do – to give people an experience in life that is not everyday.
“Everyday is not a pleasure. I think football has a responsibility, to try to give some people a special moment in their life.
“You do not always manage to do it unfortunately, but at least you have to give them the hope they can see something special and can be transported somewhere that they do not always experience on a daily basis.”