Seven months after leaving Pep Guardiola's side, Mikel Arteta outwitted his mentor to ensure his first season as Arsenal manager will end with an FA Cup final.
Liverpool stretched their Premier League lead to 13 points by outclassing second-placed Leicester in a 4-0 win on Boxing Day as Manchester United and Tottenham cut the gap on fourth-placed Chelsea.
Eden Hazard scored the winning penalty for Chelsea to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-3 in their Europa League semifinal shootout to become the fourth English side to reach a European final this season.
The 26-year-old Liverpool star beat fellow nominees, Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane and Arsenal forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to win African football's 2018 Player of the Year.
Egypt striker Mohamed Salah claimed the honour last year and will be favourite again, hoping to become the fourth player to win back-to-back titles.
Wenger was given a guard of honour from both teams and match officials before kickoff. He received roars of support throughout the match from the home fans, most of whom had donned their complimentary red "Merci Arsene" T-shirts.
The 29-year-old Chile striker has signed what is believed to be a four-and-a-half-year contract that will make him the highest-paid player in the Premier League.
25-year-old Mohamed Salah scored 23 goals in 29 matches in all competitions and is the first Egyptian to win the award since Mahmoud al Khatib in 1983.
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