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Why Wenger decided to leave Arsenal: The inside story

Officially, Arsene Wenger wasn't pushed out of Arsenal. He jumped. But it's the sort of leap you take when there's no way out and events over this season made it clear he had no choice, writes Gab Marcotti.

Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wenger leaves Arsenal with tarnished legacy

Mark Ogden: Arsene Wenger leaves Arsenal with a tarnished legacy after staying on too long but in time, fondness and respect for his achievements will return.

How Wenger revolutionised football at Arsenal.

The FC crew discuss the timing of Arsene Wenger's decision to leave Arsenal, his legacy after 22 years at the club and what he will do next.

7:46

ARSENE WENGER TO LEAVE ARSENAL

Arsenal Fan TV host reacts to Wenger leaving.

4:01

Gazidis: Wenger made art out of football.

5:33

WATCH: Arsenal's tribute to Arsene Wenger.

3:02

Fans’ Eye View: Wenger is a fraud.

1:03

Conte: Wenger one of the best mangers in the world.

0:54

Klopp: Football will be different without Wenger.

1:54

Hughes: Wenger moved the goalposts for everybody.

0:40

TOP HEADLINES

Chris Smalling Exclusive Interview

EXCLUSIVE: Man United's Smalling chats to ESPN FC.

2:40

Smalling ignoring talk of Man United exit

Chris Smalling says he is ignoring any talk that he could leave Manchester United this summer.

Utd season success with FA Cup - Smalling

Chris Smalling said ending the season second in the Premier League and lifting a trophy would represent a successful campaign for Manchester United.

Arsenal

Wenger announces his exit

WATCH: Exploding Heads lay Wenger's coat to rest.

1:06

Can Gazidis, Arsenal get Wenger replacement right?

Ivan Gazidis sounded confident in the club's ability to find Arsene Wenger's successor but as Man United showed after Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement, transition is a messy business.

Who will be Arsenal's next manager?

With the Arsenal managerial job now available, the FC crew assess the possible successors to Arsene Wenger and the challenges they will face.

5:51

Major League Soccer

Youthful MLS audience perfect for Earth Day push

MLS, Adidas and Parley are partnering to raise awareness of ocean plastic pollution, and the league's young audience is perfect for the project.

Why are MLS Cup winners Seattle, Toronto struggling?

The Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC have won the past two MLS Cups, but are at the bottom of the table. Should they be worried?

WATCH: LAFC unveil new stadium.

LAFC co-owners Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra share their excitement as Banc of California Stadium is unveiled.

2:19

Why the FA Cup matters more to Spurs than Man United.

2:46

Spurs don't 'need' FA Cup but they do deserve it

It's short-sighted to say that Tottenham "need" a trophy like the FA Cup, but they do deserve a tangible reward for their stunning over-achievement.

Man United or Spurs: Who needs the FA Cup more?

4:59

Why the FA Cup matters more to Spurs than Man United.

2:46

EXCLUSIVE: Man United's Smalling chats to ESPN FC.

2:40

Pochettino: FA Cup win won't take Tottenham to the next level.

0:59

Manchester United or Spurs: Who needs the FA Cup more?

4:59

Pochettino: No Wembley advantage for Spurs.

0:31

Who starts for Jose Mourinho on Saturday?

2:22

Transfer rumours

Transfer Talk: PSG worry Neymar may push for exit

A year after Neymar abruptly left Barca for PSG, Les Parisiens are worried he may suddenly push for a move to Madrid. Transfer Talk has the latest.

Transfer Rater: Richarlison to Man United

Richarlison to Manchester United and Layvin Kurzawa to Chelsea are two of today's transfer rumours, courtesy of Football Whispers.

Tierney to replace Shaw at United?

Scouting Spotlight looks at a potential replacement for Luke Shaw at Man United and two young Germans who could be on the move to England.

Arsenal

Soccer

Extra Time: Ranking Wenger, Arsenal's future and more.

The guys respond to your tweets about Arsene Wenger's Arsenal exit, his place among the all-time greats and more.

6:36

Soccer

WATCH: ESPN FC Best of the Week.

Check out the best moments from the last week on the ESPN FC set, including weird superstitions, flying papers and more.

2:50

Premier League Highlights

Burnley 1-2 Chelsea: Chelsea five points from 4th.

1:44

Leicester City 0-0 Southampton: Spoils shared.

1:20

Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United: "B" squad does just fine.

2:25

Brighton 1-1 Tottenham: Hosts earn valuable point.

1:26

Prem: Top goals of Week 34.

2:19

WATCH: Manchester City's top goals of the season.

1:34

Liverpool gearing towards a title challenge

Liverpool are fighting for second place as they look to lay down a marker ahead of a potential title challenge next season.

Can Liverpool finally topple lowly West Brom?

West Brom have been by far the worst team in the Premier League but Liverpool have failed to beat them twice, drawing once and losing in the FA Cup.

Are Salah, Firmino and Mane Liverpool's best-ever front three?

Liverpool's front three of Salah, Firmino and Mane have no historical equal statistically, but silverware can end the 'best-ever' argument for good.

Weekend football

FA Cup and Premier League predictor.

3:58

W2W4: Do Spurs care about FA Cup?

W2W4 previews the weekend's action by highlighting its most compelling storylines as Man United and Tottenham vie for a place in the FA Cup final.

Pogba, Man United respond to Mourinho criticism

With their under-scrutiny midfielder impressing, much-changed Man United got a confidence boost ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semifinal vs. Tottenham.

Pogba and Herrera land 9/10s for United

Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera dictated play for Manchester United, as one would expect them to at their best. But Luke Shaw looked rusty.

WATCH: Mourinho on Pogba's performance.

Jose Mourinho was asked to rate Paul Pogba and respond to Paul Scholes' scathing criticism of the Frenchman after the West Brom match.

0:43

Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United: "B" squad does just fine.

2:44

Bournemouth 0-2 Manchester United: "B" squad does just fine.

2:25

Romelu Lukaku makes it 2-0.

1:09

Lingard and Smalling connect for United's first.

1:02

WATCH: Mourinho on Pogba's performance.

0:43

Wilson: I wouldn't dive with an open goal in front of me.

2:08

Morata's Chelsea nightmare continues

Antonio Conte's side maintain hope of a top-four finish after beating Burnley to claim their second away win in five days, but Alvaro Morata's ongoing frustration was visible once again.

Morata apologises for substitution tantrum

Antonio Conte said he will consider playing Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud together in attack for Chelsea's FA Cup semifinal against Southampton.

Who's to blame for Chelsea's failed season?

With Chelsea on the outside looking in when it comes to the UCL next season, the FC crew examine who's to blame for their underwhelming campaign.

3:10

Burnley 1-2 Chelsea: Chelsea five points from 4th.

2:59

Burnley 1-2 Chelsea: Chelsea five points from 4th.

1:44

Moses restores the lead for Chelsea.

1:02

Fortuitous finish by Barnes brings Burnley level.

1:09

Morata misses golden chance to double Chelsea's advantage.

0:32

Kevin Long's own goal gifts Chelsea the lead.

1:00

Liga MX

Soccer

W2W4: Liga MX to bid farewell to Marquez, Estadio Azul

Week 16 of Liga MX's Clausura boasts matchups between playoff contenders, a home farewell to a Liga MX legend, as well as the age-old Estadio Azul.

How to fix the Copa MX

The Copa MX has been completely overshadowed by other competitions this time around. What can be done to restore its prestige?

Unravelling the Liga MX playoff picture with two rounds to go

With the Liga MX playoff picture far from settled with just two weeks remaining, Cesar Hernandez breaks down all 18 teams' chances into four tiers.

Mexico

Soccer

Enjoy Marquez while you still can

Rafa Marquez's playing career is coming to a close, and with it the opportunity to appreciate one of the greatest players in Mexican soccer history.

EXCLUSIVE: Marquez opens up about World Cup hopes.

Mexican legend Rafa Marquez sits down with ESPN to discuss his lengthy career and the possibility of playing in a fifth World Cup before retiring.

2:20

Osorio's big idea for Mexico's World Cup prep

Juan Carlos Osorio has developed an online platform of learning and nutrition for his Mexico players as they prep for the World Cup.

Moreno: Toronto looked like they didn't belong.

4:06

Toronto must discover ruthless streak

After missing chances in the first leg, Toronto must now score two goals at minimum, something no team has done to Chivas in this tournament.

Chivas' attacking endeavor surprises Toronto FC

After delivering a gritty performance to get past NYRB in the previous round, no one expected Chivas to stun Toronto like it did on Tuesday night.

Tottenham Hotspur

Soccer

Tottenham can progress without Alderweireld

Toby Alderweireld looks destined to leave Tottenham but Davinson Sanchez's form and Mauricio Pochettino's coaching means the club can thrive.

Aurier's missteps continue as Spurs stumble

A heavily rotated Tottenham had to settle for a draw from their trip to Brighton, as Serge Aurier gave away his third penalty of the season.

Kane explains Spurs' attacking adjustment in Brighton draw.

Harry Kane breaks down how a tactical switch in the second half helped him get on the ball more and score in Tottenham's draw at Brighton.

1:16

The Toe Poke

Drogba backs Salah after Liverpool milestone

Didier Drogba sent Mohamed Salah a message of congratulations after the Egyptian became the highest scoring African player in a single season.

Zlatan as a movie star? Yes, please!

Everyone's favourite Swashbuckling Swede -- the one and only Zlatan Ibrahimovic -- has admitted he's considering a career as a film star.

WATCH: Conte's wife calls during press conference.

Antonio Conte was embarrassed in front of a room full of journalists as a phone call from his wife interrupted his press conference.

0:43

Italian Serie A

Are Napoli capable of winning at Juventus?

2:03

Napoli visit Juventus with title race firmly back on

Just days ago, Napoli's title challenge seemed to be dead but favourable results Wednesday make Sunday's trip to Juventus the "mother of all games."

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Premier League

Premier League winter break plan not fit for purpose

A mid-season break is long overdue in England, but the current proposals are deeply flawed and nothing more than a lame attempt at ticking a box.

Premier League winter break: How it could work

The Premier League in February confirmed it is open to the idea of introducing a winter break, and reports suggest it could be announced soon.

Safe standing should return to English football

Football grounds are safer than they have ever been. Safe standing provides a chance to further reduce the risk to matchgoing supporters.

Barcelona

Soccer

Does Barcelona's unbeaten streak mean anything?

Barcelona's draw with Celta secured the longest unbeaten streak in La Liga history, but Craig Burley thinks they'll be defined by their UCL exit to Roma.

3:15

Mina, Gomes look out of their depth

Barcelona were fortunate to leave Balaidos with a point after Yerry Mina and Andre Gomes turned in sub-par performances for the La Liga leaders.

No La Masia stars in Barcelona lineup

After Barcelona included no La Masia graduates in their side for the 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo, here's a look at when that last happened, 16 years ago.

Real Madrid

Soccer

Bale deserved better at Real Madrid if this is the end

Gareth Bale's Real Madrid career looks to be coming to a unceremonious end but if this is in fact how it ends, he should be remembered favourably.

Money won't deter Perez over Arrizabalaga

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is keen on signing Athletic 'keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and when Perez wants you, cost isn't normally an issue.

Zidane: Real Madrid don't listen to you guys.

Zinedine Zidane defended his side's recent performances and admitted that they try to avoid what the press have said about them.

0:49

last train to russia (watch in u.s. on espn+)

Last Train to Russia: Ekaterinburg.

2:51

Last Train to Russia: Kazan.

3:45

Last Train to Russia: Samara.

4:28

Last Train to Russia: Saransk.

4:05

Last Train to Russia: Nizhny Novgorod.

3:18

Last Train to Russia: St. Petersburg.

4:41

Manchester City

Soccer

Big spending Man City have managerial nous too

Pep Guardiola's critics are obsessed about his spending power and it's an insult to suggest his success is purely down to money.

Man City's title win down to chemistry

While Manchester City relied on individual stars in past title runs, coach Pep Guardiola has created a power this season through team cohesion.

Is there more to come from Manchester City?

ESPN's Mark Ogden and Jonathan Smith discuss whether Pep Guardiola can break even more league records after Manchester City won the Premier League.

4:19

fifa world cup

Ibrahimovic: I am going to the World Cup.

0:37

Baggio's penalty, Poll's card trick in World Cup bloopers

Roberto Baggio's penalty, Graham Poll's three-card trick and Rene Higuita's walkabout feature in Nick Miller's World Cup Top Tenner of bloopers.

World Cup auditions highlight Libertadores

One of the early trends in this year's Copa Libertadores is that players are getting a chance to audition for European clubs and World Cup spots.

Saul, Savic 4/10 in lacklustre Atletico defeat

Atletico Madrid were handed their worst beating of the season at Real Sociedad (0-3) with Saul Niguez's recent poor spell of form continuing here.

Atletico suffer heavy defeat at Real Sociedad

Substitute Juanmi struck twice to dent Atletico Madrid's hopes of a top-two La Liga finish as they went down 3-0 at Real Sociedad.

Atleti 'not so good' in loss - Simeone

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone said his team had no excuses after being deservedly thumped 3-0 at Real Sociedad on Thursday night.

Real Sociedad 3-0 Atletico Madrid.

10:52

Simeone: Atletico's away form is not good enough.

0:19

Bundesliga

Bayern dominance, Bundesliga brain drain

The semifinals of the DFB Pokal highlighted some glaring problems in the Bundesliga, with Bayern Munich's hegemony continuing to go unchallenged.

Dortmund must lick derby wounds ahead of Bayer

Borussia Dortmund were exposed tactically in the derby vs. Schalke. They'll have to quickly regroup against Leverkusen to salvage a top-four place.

WATCH: The art of dribbling with Leon Bailey.

Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey gives ESPN FC's Alexis Nunes a crash course in the art of dribbling and reveals his influences growing up.

6:38

Premier League

PFA Team of the Year - alternative XI

The PFA Premier League team of the year is out. But which players can consider themselves unlucky not to have made the final XI?

VOTE: Do you agree with PFA Team of the Year?

Manchester City dominated the Professional Footballers' Association's Premier League team of the year, but do you agree?

Mbappe 8/10 as PSG reach Coupe de France final

While most of his teammates were below standard, Kylian Mbappe rose to the occasion, scoring twice to carry PSG into the Coupe de France final.

PSG deserved Coupe de France finalists - Silva

Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva felt that his team are deservedly into the Coupe de France final after beating Caen 3-1.

PSG have given Neymar too long a leash.

With Neymar in Brazil playing poker during PSG's title celebrations, the ESPN FC guys question his priorities and commitment to his club.

3:08

international champions cup

ICC includes Madrid, Barca, Manchester clubs, Liverpool

The International Champions Cup announced its full 2018 schedule, featuring games like Real Madrid-Man United and Man United-Liverpool.

Man Utd-Liverpool, Madrid-Juve among the biggest games

The International Champions Cup is back for 2018 and will see the game's top teams face off in preseason. Here are six must-see games.

WATCH: Stars heap praise on International Champions Cup.

Luis Garcia, Michael Essien and many more former stars heap praise on the ICC tournament and how it prepares for the long season ahead.

1:30

Brazil

Soccer

Neymar positive on World Cup fitness.

Following the first surgery of his career, Neymar is positive he will be in good shape for the start of the World Cup in June.

1:22

Naldo deserves Brazil World Cup call

Naldo is one of the Bundesliga's greatest-ever imports, and he could yet be heading to the World Cup finals with Brazil.

Pele: Brazil have the best individual players.

Brazil legend Pele feels Tite will have challenging few months ahead of him in terms of assembling the best XI as the Selecao aim to reach the World Cup final.

0:40

UEFA Champions League

Marcotti reveals Roma's weakness vs. Liverpool.

3:38

Are Real Madrid underdogs against Bayern?

The FC crew are split on whether Bayern Munich or Real Madrid is the likelier side to prevail in their Champions League semifinal tie.

4:15

Who will go through in UCL/UEL?

With the draws made for the semifinals in the Champions League and Europa League, here's a look at how the big games will pan out.

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