Time to say goodbye – can Wenger sign off in style at Old Trafford?

The Frenchman will visit the home of Manchester United as Arsenal manager one last time in the hope of reliving his past glories

One last hurrah.

On Sunday, Arsene Wenger will return to his most storied venue in football when he leads his Arsenal team out at Old Trafford for the final time.

From clinching the league title with a famous 1-0 victory in 2002 to their 8-2 drubbing a decade later, for the outgoing Gunners boss the Theatre of Dreams has also been the backdrop to his nightmares.

For more than two decades Old Trafford has been a place where titles were won and lost for English football’s longest-serving manager.

And this weekend, sitting opposite him he will find his most bitter of rivals.

It will be the 19th meeting between Wenger and Jose Mourinho in all competitions – Mourinho didn’t lose any of the first 13 (W6 D7) but has lost two of the last five.

However, Mourinho has never lost at home against Wenger in seven matches (W4 D3) and a home win would see Arsenal end a league campaign with double figures in their defeats column for this first time in Wenger’s two-decade stay in North London.

 

Arsenal have lost their last five away matches in the Premier League – they’ve not lost six in a row in the top-flight since a run of seven in January 1966.

Key to Arsenal’s chances of avoiding those most unwanted of landmarks will be stopping Alexis Sanchez, who left Arsenal for United in January.

The Chilean could become the first player to score both for and against the same team in the same Premier League season since Wilfried Bony in 2014-15.

But Wenger will return with a couple of United’s old flames and will hope Danny Welbeck will return to haunt his former club.

Welbeck has scored on both of his visits to Old Trafford for Arsenal in all competitions – no Arsenal player has scored away at Man Utd more under Wenger.

Unlike so many classics of Wenger’s tenure in English football, this weekend there will be no trophies at stake, no race to be won or lost.

But there is history, emotion and personal pride. It’s time to say goodbye.

The stakes are high. The pressure is on.

NAIJAXTREME, MD, USA

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