Arsenal beats West Ham 4-1 at start of Wenger's farewell

Arsenal's Nacho Monreal, left, celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team mates during the English Premier League soccer match against West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium in London, Sunday April 22, 2018. (Mark Kerton/PA via AP)

Arsene Wenger saw Arsenal claim a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday in his first game since announcing his 22-year managerial reign will finish at the end of the season

LONDON — Arsene Wenger saw Arsenal claim a 4-1 victory over West Ham on Sunday in his first game since announcing his 22-year managerial reign will finish at the end of the season.

That Arsenal remains sixth in the Premier League is why support for Wenger has drained among the north London club's fan base.

When Wenger stepped onto the pitch before kickoff there was no acknowledgment of the 68-year-old Frenchman from the stadium announcer. And fans only chanted about the only manager of the club many have ever known in response to taunts from West Ham supporters.

It was a tepid first half from Arsenal, showing just why the team is 30 points behind newly crowned champion Manchester City.

The hosts only came to life in the second half. But even after Nacho Monreal netted in the 51st minute, West Ham pulled level through Marko Arnautovic. The win was only secured with a flurry of goals in the last 10 minutes, with Aaron Ramsey's strike followed by Alexandre Lacazette's double.

Arsenal's priority is the Europa League, with the semifinal first leg against Atletico Madrid on Thursday. It's the only realistic path into the Champions League and the final in Lyon can provide Wenger with the perfect send-off.

Wenger announced on Friday that he had decided to step down next month. But Arsenal's leadership has sidestepped questions about whether the decision was because they didn't want Wenger, a three-time Premier League winner with Arsenal, to complete the final year of his contract.

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