Joy of six for happy Wenger
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger basked in the glory of his side's 6-1 win at Everton and insisted they are aiming to prove wrong the critics who claim they do not have a squad strong enough to win the title. And while Wenger was purring over the performances of Cesc Fabregas and company at Goodison Park, Everton manager David Moyes said he "took responsibility for the performance" by his own side.
Everton slumped to their worst home defeat since 1958, with Fabregas scoring twice in the second half to add to first period efforts from Denilson, William Gallas and new boy Thomas Vermaelen. Substitute Eduardo got the sixth in injury-time, before Louis Saha grabbed a consolation for Everton.
Wenger said: "I was surprised by the result, especially at Goodison. Everton were not at the level we usually face. The international week clearly disrupted them and their preparation. But we showed cohesion, attitude, team spirit and desire to play together, all these things were the reasons that we won.
"We have lost two good players, two great players [in Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor] in the summer to Manchester City, but when great players leave that allows space for other players to come in and prove they are good enough.
"People have been writing us off," he said. "But what is important is not what others say, but what we do. From being told we were not competitive before the game to now being told we are super-favourites is strange. But it is right to say that this is just the first game and we aim to continue to give our best.
"We have matured and this is a good basis to continue like that and to show what we want to do. Before the game we were seemingly being ruled out by everybody, and now we have won 6-1, there are two very big extremes," said Wenger.
"We are told we do not have the squad. Well, we want to show that we do have the squad." He added: "Everton were not at their usual standards. But we did take every chance that came our way in the first half. They seemed flat, physically, usually their energy level is very high.
"That was not there and we were able to dominate physically from the start."
Everton manager Moyes, furious ahead of the game with Manchester City's conduct in their battle to sign Joleon Lescott, again dismissed claims from City manager Mark Hughes the deal was still on. He said: "There is no deal, is there? And I have said often enough that Everton are not selling."
Moyes added: "We need to do better, I need to do better and coach them better to make sure we stop that happening again.
"There are no excuses for that. I take the responsibility and do better with the players that I have got.
"I have to do something about it [bringing people in]. But that was virtually the cup final team, so the players have to take their responsibility to head the ball out of the box, mark people and go with runners at set-pieces," he said.
"These things should be their basics. Things we should be doing naturally. There was too much wrong to mention," said Moyes. "It was a disappointing result and it has knocked our confidence."
Arsenal captain Fabregas revealed he had dedicated his two goals to his friend Daniel Jarque, the Espanyol captain who died recently.
Fabregas said: "He was my friend and what has happened was terrible. We were in the same under-21 side for two seasons, and his death is a great loss. I dedicate my goals to his memory."