Huddersfield Town v Arsenal

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Pictures: Arsène Wenger's final training session

Arsène Wenger at his final training session, on May 12, 2018

Arsène Wenger took his final training session on Saturday, ahead of Sunday's Premier League match at Huddersfield Town.

Our club photographer was there and sent us these pictures.

Press conference

Wenger - Memories of my first press conference

As he faced the media for the final time at London Colney, Arsene Wenger was asked to spool back 22 years to reflect on his very first press conference as Arsenal manager.

The Frenchman admitted that it felt like a lifetime ago, and also discussed his relationship with the press during his time at the club.
 
This is what he said:
 
on his first press conference...
I remember how bad my English was! And the curiosity that people had about me, because I came from nowhere. But I completely maintain what I said there, one of my jobs was to keep faithful to the qualities I had found here. The world has changed, the players are richer as well. I tried always to maintain the tradition and values of this club as much as I could. Overall I believe I was not too bad.
 
on whether he will miss the media...
Yes, because nobody will ask me anymore about things. I always told you I love football and I love the game. Every time I can talk about the game with you, I'm happy. I didn't enjoy many of the press conferences because it was sometimes, for different reasons, to get my emotional response. But every time I can talk about the game and the things I love in the game, I'm happy. On that front I will miss the press conferences.
 
on whether this is the last time a long-term manager will face the press...
It's a very unique press conference because [Sir Alex] Ferguson was the last one. I take this opportunity to wish him well. I see he is doing well, and I think he made 26 years and I am on 22. There are some young managers who are already five or six years in charge. But 22? I don't know. You never can say I am the last one, it can happen again.
 
on holding press conferences at 8.45am...
First, I like that you have to get up early because I know in the press nobody likes to get up early! They usually start at 10 or 11am. So to make you suffer a little bit as well. And I know if I start early, you will not all turn up so it will be a bit easier for me!

Press conference

Arsene Wenger's last media day at Colney

It was a packed house at London Colney on Thursday as Arsene Wenger held his final media day as our manager.

The boss first conducted interviews with some of the TV rightsholders and Arsenal Media, before holding his press conference.

After that, he spoke to the written press at length about his career at the club.

Our club photographer was at London Colney and sent back these exclusive images.

Pre-Match Report

Huddersfield v Arsenal: The Brief

Sunday is the final goodbye. After this game that really is it. 

Since the manager announced the end of his record-breaking tenure last month, there has been a succession of 'lasts' and farewells, giving the fans - and the man himself - time to slowly adapt to the idea of Arsenal Football Club without Arsène Wenger as its manager. 

The highlight was last weekend's emotional Emirates send-off, and since then Wenger has conducted his final pre-match press conference, taken his staff out for a farewell lunch and this weekend he will oversee his final training session, and pick his last starting XI before taking charge of his final match.

In many ways Sunday's game at Huddersfield's John Smith’s Stadium is one of the least noteworthy of all the 1,235 games he has presided over. We will finish sixth no matter what the result, and the hosts have little to play for too, having secured Premier League survival with an impressive draw at Chelsea on Wednesday night.

But whatever happens on Sunday, the match will go down in history as the end of an era. So it's perhaps fitting that the opposition has such strong links to Arsenal folklore. 

Another of the club's great visionaries, Herbert Chapman, led Huddersfield to their first-ever league championship – the first of a hat-trick of titles – way back in 1924 before he moved to Highbury to lead us to our first three major honours.

Our last 10 trophies have all been won by Wenger, and fans will no doubt reminisce about those successes on Sunday, but right now the boss is looking for just one more victory to end a wretched away run.

The defeat to Leicester was our seventh in a row on the road in the Premier League, and the manager said that even though this is his final game in charge, his priority is reversing our away form. 

"At the moment I don’t think about my future at all," he told the assembled media in his final ever pre-match press conference. "I don’t realise it’s my last press conference because I have just the Huddersfield game in mind, and try to do my job as well as I can until the last minute I’m here."

Those remaining minutes are continuing to tick down, and to preview this historic match we bring you team news, his last press conference, Michael Cox's verdict on the opposition, facts, graphics and a chance to have your say.

Wenger on preparing for the future

GOING OUT ON A HIGH

There might be little at stake on Sunday, but the manager has been reminding the players of the importance of ending the season on a winning note…

"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’. 

“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."

Team news

ARSENAL: Koscielny (Achilles), Cazorla (calf), Ozil (back), Elneny (ankle)

HUDDERSFIELD: Kachunga (ankle), Williams (ankle), Hefele (knee)


The Opposition

Tactical expert Michael Cox assesses Sunday’s opponents… 

“Huddersfield are extremely well-organised without possession, capable of pressing well in midfield and keeping the opposition at bay with a high defensive line. There aren’t many superstars in this side, but the defensive organisation throughout the season has been hugely impressive, and is the main reason for Huddersfield’s impressive campaign.

“Aaron Mooy started the season in great form, and while his figures for this season – four goals and three assists – appear a little underwhelming, his driving runs from midfield represent Huddersfield’s main attacking threat.”

Aaron Mooy and David Wagner

THE LAST WORD

The Emirates faithful made their feelings towards our longest-serving manager clear last weekend, with the Burnley fans also joining in the 'One Arsène Wenger' chants towards the end of the game. The Leicester fans also serenaded the boss with that chorus on Wednesday, and the boss is grateful for the heartfelt valediction.

"They all love me now! It's a pleasant surprise. 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 every day. Every day 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."

Matchday Show: Huddersfield Town (a)

Matchday Show: Huddersfield Town (a)

Press conference

'There are 20,000 trees and I saw them all small'

It wouldn't be Arsene Wenger if he didn't deliver a memorable line in his final pre-match press conference at London Colney.

The Arsenal manager was in relaxed mood, and when asked to discuss the period since he announced his decision to leave, he said this to the media:
 
on how difficult he’s found it…
It’s difficult because this is my life, every year. I have 20,000 trees out there [at the training ground] and I saw every one like that (small) and they are now massive. I will greet every one of them before I leave and say ‘thank you’. Of course that’s my life, I don’t know anything else, and that’s why it will be difficult. I will leave a club where I can be proud of what is behind me because it has a fantastic structure, fantastic conditions for the next manager. I think I have been a little part in the development of a club that is historical and that has a huge fanbase. I leave the club in the conditions where the future of the club is in a strong position.
 
on how strange it’s been since Sunday…
It was very strange and I’m grateful for [Sunday] because you can say it’s sad but if you look at it in an objective way, when you have the privilege to manage a club of that stature for 22 years, you should be very, very happy and say ‘thank you very much, it was a great privilege’. That’s how I look at it.
 
on how difficult it' been s for the players to get themselves up for these last two games…
I must say the players’ attitude was great last night [at Leicester]. They were fantastic. I believe there is a special bond in the team. There’s something waiting to come out of this team that is special, that I like very much. Hopefully they can express that next season. If you look at it in a very objective way, we’ve scored 73 goals and will score more certainly, but we conceded too many goals. It’s quite simple to look at what needs to be improved.
 
on if he is happy he has had a 'long goodbye'...
I enjoyed some aspects of it, yes – and not all. It was not always easy to cut slowly with what you do everyday and always you want to do it as well as you can and you don't want to forget to thank people who deserve it. There are some people here who I employed 20 years ago who fought for me every single day so it is not easy to say goodbye.
 
on the changes he has seen in the Premier League...
There's two aspects I would say. The Premier League has created many jobs, when I arrived we were 80 at Arsenal, we are today 700. That means from a private little company where you know everybody, we have gone to a normal company with an HR department where everything has to be processed and regulated. That's not down anymore to your initiative, but every single decision has to go through a process in an over-regulated society. It's sometimes discouraging, so the human aspect has dropped a little bit. On the other hand the financial power of the clubs has become huge. On the other hand, in 20 years the ownership has changed completely. If you look at the ownership when I was arrived and what it is today, it has become completely world wide. England does not own the clubs any more, it's much more international. The world has become globalised and open, so the competition is worldwide with the players as well. These owners buy players from all over the world. The Premier League has become a world-wide championship. The next evolution? Maybe I will see you in a few years and you will certainly have a European league over the weekends. A domestic league will certainly play Tuesday/Wednesday. I think that is the next step we will see.
 
on if he's booked a holiday...
Not yet, honestly no. I don't know what I will do, maybe go to Russia.
 
on if he will follow the Premier League after he leaves...
Yes.
 
on if he will go to the World Cup...
I will watch the World Cup, I will be at the World Cup at the opening game and I watch of course the Premier League. When I wake up in the morning I look first at what kind of game is at night and that will not change.
 
on what he will do in the next couple of weeks...
I have some work to do in France on Monday, Tuesday and after I will come back on Thursday and clear my office and that will be it – after that I don't know.

Press conference

Wenger - The period when I did my best job

As expected, Arsene Wenger's final pre-match press conference had little to do with Sunday's game at Huddersfield and was more about looking back at his 22 years in charge of the club.

What is his favourite moment as Arsenal manager? What is his biggest regret? This is what he told the media at London Colney:
 
on his most cherished memory...
Maybe my first title here because I came completely unknown and in my first full year I won the championship. I would say personally from 2006 to 2015 it was certainly the period where I needed to be the strongest and [where] I did the best job. To accept to commit to five years when you build the stadium to work with restricted resources and keep the club in a position where we can pay our debts back, I personally feel I did my best job in that period. Not the most glamorous maybe, but the most difficult.
 
on the match he would change...
It's always the last one - not Leicester because there was nothing at stake - but Atletico Madrid. When you come out of these two games and you are out of the semi-final of the Europa League... when you come out of the first leg with 1-1 and it should be 3-0, it is what you would like to change. Even with my experience, when it was 1-0 in the second half [of the first leg] I never thought it would finish 1-1. I thought maybe we won't score the second goal, but we cannot concede - they never crossed the halfway line. Always the last pain is the biggest one.
 
on it not being the Champions League final in 2006...
That was in 2006, it is over 11 years ago and of course it is still painful but my last pain, the last big defeat, is that.
 
on his best Arsenal team: 1998 or 2004?
2004. Their achievement, nobody has done it since in the Premier League. I loved the team in 1998 because I found some players had quality much better than I thought they were when I arrived here. They were very intelligent as well. And they were an experienced team. After, we added a bit more exceptional quality in 2002 and 2004. Overall, maybe the Invincibles.
 
on what his legacy is: trophies or stadium?
It's a bit of all of that. I would say the legacy is what you think is important, with the way you behave with your players. I get so many messages from players, that are not about the trophies we won together, they are more about the human aspect. That's what the players keep - and the values of the club - that they realise when they go somewhere else. That's what you want and after that you want the style of play, as the manager has an influence on the way you play football. The idea that you want to give from the game you love. The structures of the club, the way you can influence individual players' lives as well. All that together you would want to be remembered for.

Press conference

Wenger - The advice I'd give my successor

Arsene Wenger was in expansive mood on Friday in his final pre-match press conference as Arsenal manager.

After admitting that it was a "strange" feeling to be facing the media for the final time, the boss discussed what he asks of his successor.
 
"The advice I’d give to him is to give his best and respect the values of the club," Wenger said. "This club is respected all over the world and I would just like him to bring his own ideas.
 
"It will be a different speech, a different way to see the game. It’s a chance for the players to see something different. As well, on the other hand, I’d say to respect what has been built here and what people care about as well.
 
"You have seen on Sunday, when you speak about the goodbye I had with the fans, is that some of the fans don’t always agree with my decisions but I think they respected one thing: that I was honest, loyal and committed to the values of the club and to give my best for the club.
 
"They wanted to tell me ‘we agree with you on that’. And I would like my successor to do that as well."

Press conference

'You have to control the animal that's inside you'

It's been an emotional few weeks for everyone connected with Arsenal - and no one has felt that more than Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal manager will take charge of his final game in charge of the club on Sunday, and while he admits that will be tough, he learnt a long time ago to "control the animal inside".
 
This is what he told the media:
 
on if he’s someone who gets emotional…

Yes, but I’m very passionate and at a very young age, I realised that if I wanted to survive in this job, I had to get control of my emotions or I wouldn’t survive. I don’t know if you [can] imagine, but at 33 years of age, I was responsible for a top team in France. I’m 68 today and I’ve never stopped. There’s a long learning process of controlling who you really are. Control the animal that is inside you. That helps me a lot. I went through some fantastic periods in my life, and as well some more difficult periods. The fact that I managed to keep control of my emotions and my reactions helped me a lot to do my job. Now, after I finish here, I can re-connect a little bit and be a bit more who I am really.
 
on if we’ve seen the real Arsène Wenger…
You have seen the real Arsène Wenger, one aspect of me, which is a desperate guy who wants to win football games. That’s the thing that matters. That’s what is a really big part of my personality.
 
on what he still wants to achieve in his career...
I had a personal fight with myself my whole life – to be as good as I can be and I will continue to do that.

News

Travel update: Huddersfield Town (a)

Huddersfield Town

Supporters attending Sunday’s match against Huddersfield Town should be aware of the following M1 road closure which may affect your travel arrangements.

From Friday, May 11 (10pm southbound and midnight northbound) to Sunday, May 13 (3pm), J23A-24 of the M1 will be closed to all traffic.

The Kegworth Bypass Bridge will be launched over the motorway, south of Ashby Road Bridge, as part of a major infrastructure construction development at SEGRO Logistics Park East Midlands Gateway.

There will be a traffic diversion route along the A453 for the entire time.

As the M1 is one of the UK’s busiest motorways, significant congestion and delays are expected along this diversion route and the motorway. Therefore, drivers are advised to avoid this area if possible and allow for extra time for their journey.

Click here for the latest travel updates and diversions from Highways England

Thank you for your support.

News

Follow Wenger's final match LIVE on Arsenal.com

Matchday Show: Huddersfield Town (a)

Sunday is a momentous day - it's Arsène Wenger's 1,235th and final match in charge of Arsenal.

If you haven't got a ticket for our game at Huddersfield Town, don't worry, you can follow the game live with us.

Tune in to the website from 2.30pm (UK time) for the following from our Premier League match: 

  • Matchday Show, with live build-up and audio commentary from 3pm (UK time)
  • Live text commentary - featuring minute-by-minute updates and insights from our fans on Twitter
  • A short goals clip, extended highlights and a full match replay will be available from midnight on Sunday

Fixtures

International Champions Cup
Ticket Info
International Champions Cup
Ticket Info

Results

Friendly Match
Premier League