Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan dazzled on their Emirates Stadium debuts as Aaron Ramsey’s hat-trick led Arsenal’s unceremonious 5-1 thumping of Everton.
By the time £56million recruit Aubameyang displayed his midas touch in front of goal, Arsene Wenger’s side were already three goals to the good and cruising on account of Aaron Ramsey’s first two strikes, which came either side of a Laurent Koscielny header.
Mkhitaryan set up the Wales international’s opener and also laid on Aubameyang, his old partner in crime at Borussia Dortmund, for a goal on his maiden Premier League appearance, although the offside flag should have ruled that one out.
Arguably, a defensive showing as abject as the ramshackle interpretation offered by Everton in the first half deserved such ill fortune.
On-loan Manchester City centre-back Eliaquim Mangala suffered a debut ordeal and deflected Ramsey’s second past Jordan Pickford, while Sam Allardyce’s pre-match assertion that Arsenal were defensively weak came back to bite him brutally and repeatedly.
Everton improved after the break – it would have surely been impossible to do otherwise – and substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin reduced the arrears before Ramsey claimed the match ball from Mkhitaryan’s third assist.
Arsenal left-back Nacho Monreal almost prolonged his recent goalscoring form by heading against the post before a disorientated Everton made hastily for the dressing room.
Walcott had a shot blocked before curling in a delightful cross for Oumar Niasse to hit the upright, meaning the visitors’ rally early in the second half was as impressive as it was futile.
Allardyce decided Walcott had given enough on his old stomping ground after the hour and replacement Calvert-Lewin outjumped fellow substitute Sead Kolasinac to plant a header past Petr Cech.
The veteran goalkeeper soon made way for David Ospina, having failed to shake off a knock from when Niasse tested his post.
And the new shot stopper was given even more insurance 16 minutes from time when the on-rushing Ramsey slammed home Mkhitaryan’s cutback.
Sixth-placed Arsenal are now within three points of Tottenham in fifth, while Everton being 14 back from the Gunners in 10th seems an inadequate demonstration of the gulf between the sides.