Granit Xhaka marked his farewell appearance for Arsenal with a brace to help the Premier League runners-up complete their fine campaign with a 5-0 thrashing of Wolves.
Xhaka is set to leave the Emirates to join Bayer Leverkusen this summer, capping a roller-coaster seven years in north London on a high with a first-half double, although he later missed a great chance for a hat-trick.
It failed to spoil the perfect farewell for the previously much-maligned former Arsenal captain with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus and Jakub Kiwior also on target to ensure Mikel Arteta’s men regrouped after last weekend’s title disappointment at Nottingham Forest to secure 26th league win. season.
While Xhaka’s impending departure has yet to be confirmed, the huge cheers that greeted his name before kick-off played into the story, his last appearance for Arsenal.
It was the latest evidence of his own remarkable turnaround with the Emirates crowd he so memorably faced in the winter of 2019 during a game against Crystal Palace – an incident that saw him stripped of his captaincy and on the brink of the exit. Arteta’s intervention.
Xhaka immediately stepped into his starring role with a powerful attack on Matheus Nunes within seconds of the contest opening.
While Nunes saw a fierce effort parried away by Gabriel Jesus during the opening exchanges, it wasn’t long before Arsenal and their number 34 opened the scoring after 11 minutes.
The unorthodox right-back Thomas Partey fainted wide of Jesus and his whipped cross from close range headed home for Xhaka to begin his farewell in style.
After a group celebration with his teammates, the Switzerland international extended his arms in a gesture of thanks to the home fans at the Clock End.
Three minutes later, Xhaka made it 2-0 for Arsenal.
Saka dribbled past Hugo Bueno before Martin Odegaard flicked on his pass which Wolves captain Max Kilman cut into the path of Xhaka who beat Jose Sa from six yards.
Xhaka celebrated his career-best ninth goal of the season by running to hug injured midfielder Mohamed Elneny, the only player still at the club since joining in 2016.
Arsenal were not prepared to take their foot off the gas and Arteta watched his side take a three-goal lead in the 27th minute.
Odegaard and Leandro Trossard exchanged passes before the latter found Saka, who superbly checked Kilman and curled into the corner for his new signing’s 15th goal of the season.
Soon it should have been 4-0.
A one-two between Saka and Odegaard on the right saw the striker try to cross the goal but Xhaka fluffed his lines from 10 yards and smashed a hat-trick at his mercy.
Wolves managed to avoid further damage before half-time and Julen Lopetegui introduced Ruben Neves and Rayan Ait-Nouri, but they failed to stem the tide.
Partey had the ball in the Arsenal net in the 52nd minute but his joy was short-lived as Ben White chipped Wolves’ keeper Sa.
The Gunners faithful didn’t have to wait too long for the fourth goal.
This time Arsenal hurt the visitors down the left side as Trossard managed to find the back of Jesus’ net in the 58th minute, who headed over the back post.
All that remained was Xhaka’s farewell to the midfielder, which was replaced by a thunderous standing ovation in the 75th minute, followed by chants for him to stay.
Kiwior grabbed a fifth with 12 minutes remaining when he headed home a corner that should have saved Arsenal’s season before Arsenal’s season ended amid a partisan atmosphere at the sun-drenched Emirates with home fans hoping this was just the beginning for young Arteta. team.
Arsenal player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10 – There will be few Premier League afternoons as easy as this one for Ramsdale. Decent distribution.
RB: Thomas Partey – 7/10 – Not put under much pressure from a defensive standpoint. Nice spread of the play led to Arsenal’s opener.
CB: Ben White – 7/10 – A match-up against prime Raul Jimenez might have worked out differently than this particular outing.
CB: Gabriel – 7/10 – Comfortable afternoon for the Brazilian.
LB: Jakub Kiwior – 7/10 – Could easily have given away a penalty after seemingly hauling down Traore. VAR did not agree. Scored a late fifth.
DM: Jorginho – 8/10 – Bitty performance in midfield, ensuring Arsenal regained possession quickly whenever it was lost. Wonderful through ball released Trossard for the fourth goal.
CM: Martin Odegaard – 7/10 – Allowed his central midfield partner to steal the show and clearly had more to give if necessary.
CM: Granit Xhaka – 9/10 – If this is the Swiss’ final performance in red and white, he signed off in style.
RW: Bukayo Saka – 9/10 – Another really classy performance from Saka, albeit against a rotated Wolves side who looked devoid of confidence.
CF: Gabriel Jesus – 8/10 – Lovely, lovely cross for Xhaka’s opening goal. His best work came out in the channels but got into a great position to head home Arsenal’s fourth.
LW: Leandro Trossard – 9/10 – Really lively performance from the Belgian, capped with another brace of assists. Has made a real impact at the Emirates.
SUB: Reiss Nelson (60′ for Saka) – 6/10 – Not a huge impact as Arsenal saw out the game in cruise control.
SUB: Fabio Vieira (76′ for Xhaka) – N/A
SUB: Emile Smith Rowe (76′ for Odegaard) – N/A
SUB: Kieran Tierney (80′ for Kiwior) – N/A
SUB: Eddie Nketiah (80′ for Jesus) – N/A
Subs not used: Turner (GK), Walters, Holding, Bandeira
Mikel Arteta – 9/10 – Delightful way for the Spaniard’s side to end their season.