Arsène Wenger's insistence that Arsenal can win the Premier League looks a shade less fanciful this morning. Victory by such overwhelming proportions in a supposedly challenging fixture is at least guaranteed to instantly make the others sit up and take notice.
As poor as Everton were, Arsenal were outstanding, the exceptional Cesc Fabregas helping set up a stunning opener for Denilson, putting the third on a plate for William Gallas and scoring the fourth and fifth himself. In registering the division's sixth away win of the day, the big four's apparently most vulnerable occupant also picked up from finishing as the highest top-flight away scorers in 2008-09. "The game confirmed what we have seen in pre-season," Wenger said. "Everything went for us today. We were always in charge and dictated the game."
Everton's heaviest home defeat since they lost by the same score against Arsenal in 1958 was also their worst opening-day result – and there has been some recent competition. The club have launched their programme at home now for six successive years and lost four of them.
Behind the stats fest was a purring masterclass from Wenger's team. Robin van Persie, allowed too much room by Joleon Lescott, and Nicklas Bendtner had already threatened by the time the breakthrough came in the 26th minute. Bendtner chested down and passed short to Fabregas, who rolled a ball that Denilson, 25 yards out, curled high and spectacularly away from Tim Howard.
The lead was doubled eight minutes before half-time when Thomas Vermaelen highlighted a composed League debut as his club's £10 million sole summer purchase by popping up unchallenged beyond the far post to steer in a header from Van Persie's free-kick. Almost immediately, there was a further lack of marking in the six-yard area as Gallas glanced in Fabregas' diagonal set-piece delivery.
"The defending was terrible for the set-pieces," admitted Everton's manager David Moyes. "It was a disappointing performance, a disappointing result and a disappointing day. I will take responsibility in trying to coach the team better but you have to remember that's the side who finished fifth last season and reached the FA Cup final, so the players have to take responsibility as well."
So much for the theory that Everton's evening was destined to be a happy one once Joleon Lescott had been given a warm reception following his rejected transfer request. His team were booed off at half-time and there was a mass walkout after the visitors' fifth goal.
Arsenal were utterly disciplined and moved the ball beautifully, notably when they broke at lightning speed within three minutes of the restart for Denilson and Van Persie to tee up Fabregas for a shot that squeezed through Howard's legs.
Fabregas added the fifth with a low drive from 25 yards that he followed by running to the Arsenal bench and holding up and kissing a red top – a gesture of respect to his former Spanish under-21 international colleague Daniel Jarque, the Espanyol captain, who recently died from a heart attack.
Eduardo's tap-in for number six was quickly followed by an even more academic goal by another substitute, Louis Saha. It was already the mother of all opening-day eye-openers.