Arsene Wenger's long farewell to Arsenal started with a 4-1 Premier League win over West Ham as the Emirates Stadium faithful finally united behind the veteran manager.
The 68-year-old put an end to the enduring speculation over his future on Friday when it was announced he would stand down at the end of the season, and a late goal from Aaron Ramsey allied to Alexandre Lacazette's double helped kick-start the leaving party on Sunday.
Having proven a divisive figure in recent seasons, the confirmation that Wenger's 22-year tenure will soon be at an end had a unifying impact on the Gunners' fans, who saw Nacho Monreal's second-half goal cancelled out by a fine Marko Arnautovic strike before Ramsey and Lacazette saved the day.
It provided Wenger, who has gone from being a relative unknown upon his arrival to the Premier League in 1996 to attaining legendary status, with his 474th English top-flight victory from 825 matches.
The man who once led Arsenal on a 49-game unbeaten run in the league still has time to add to his 17 trophies with the club – a haul that includes three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – with a Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid to come.
Rumours will continue to gather momentum regarding who will replace the division's longest-serving boss, but that person will follow in the footsteps of one of football's most exceptional managerial talents, who received the acclaim of the fan base after the hosts' late rally.
Meanwhile, David Moyes' side must continue to look nervously over their shoulders, but the finish line is in sight and they still have a six-point cushion over the bottom three.
Wenger insisted prior to kick-off that his full focus was on the match at hand, with his side seeking to bounce back from last weekend's loss to Newcastle United and move further clear of seventh-placed Burnley.
Although the stadium was far from full, the Frenchman was met with a warm ovation from the home fans, in stark contrast to the many anti-Wenger protests and banners that have followed 'Le Professeur' in recent times.
On the field, the home side – held 0-0 at London Stadium in the reverse fixture – made a confident start against a West Ham outfit unchanged from their crucial last-gasp draw against Stoke City.
A slick attacking move saw Monreal force a corner from which Laurent Koscielny headed narrowly wide after leaping high above Cheikhou Kouyate.
David Ospina, in for the injured Petr Cech, had to be alert to deny Arnautovic after Arsenal were caught out by a long ball down West Ham's left wing, while Kouyate's awkward looping header clipped the top of the Colombian goalkeeper's crossbar.
Woeful finishing from Hector Bellerin brought an end to a moment of promise for Wenger's side, with Arthur Masuaku breathing a sigh of relief after he failed to complete a simple clearance.
After Danny Welbeck's scuffed attempt from the edge of the box, Joe Hart was finally called into action to repel Granit Xhaka's free-kick.
With his remaining half-time team talks at Arsenal now numbering single figures, Wenger clearly got his message across in this one and the Gunners were ahead six minutes after the restart.
Xhaka's corner found Monreal and his volley, though not sweetly struck, had enough on it to beat Hart and break the deadlock.
3 - Nacho Monreal has scored three goals in his last seven Premier League appearances - as many as he had in his first 153 games in the competition. Flurry. pic.twitter.com/y7AhExqnf6— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 22, 2018
Arsenal, who have one home league match remaining this season, were pegged back just past the hour mark when Arnautovic fired a superb effort beyond Ospina after collecting substitute Manuel Lanzini's toe-poked pass.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a surprising omission from the starting line-up, was introduced for the final 20 minutes as Arsenal set about restoring their advantage and they did so in fortuitous circumstances.
Youngster Declan Rice bizarrely opted to duck under Ramsey's cross-cum-shot and it nestled in Hart's far corner.
That setback rocked the Hammers and just three minutes later the contest was over, Lacazette providing the finish at the end of a fine Arsenal move that harked back to the golden era under Wenger, whose name rung out around the stadium as his compatriot added the fourth to double his tally in the closing minutes.
Key Opta stats:
- Arsenal have won six consecutive home matches in all competitions, netting at least three goals in each victory (20 goals in total).
- Arsene Wenger has beaten David Moyes in 22 matches in all competitions – more than he has beaten another manager during his time as Arsenal boss.
- Moyes is winless in all 18 of his away matches against Arsenal in all competitions (D4 L14).
- The last three occasions that West Ham have conceded four second half goals in a Premier League game have been against Arsenal (January 2013, December 2016 and today).
- Aaron Ramsey has been involved in more goals in all competitions than any other Arsenal player this season (19 - 11 goals, eight assists).
|Reed & Rose make early charges on Carnoustie ´moving day´|
|Sancho ´had a point to prove´ in Dortmund´s win over Manchester City|
|Li hits back at AC Milan owners Elliott as bitter split continues|
|Crusaders cruise past Sharks to book Hurricanes semi-final|
|Rabiot would be a great signing for Barcelona – Xavi|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Dolphins owner Ross: National anthem policy a ´placeholder´|
|Boga leaves Chelsea for Sassuolo|
|Schurrle in talks to leave Borussia Dortmund|
|Guardiola happy with Mahrez and Man City despite loss|
|Dodgers top Brewers in Machado´s debut|
|Raptors GM apologises to DeRozan after Spurs trade|
|Manchester City 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Gotze spoils Mahrez´s debut in ICC opener|
|United fans keeping De Gea at Old Trafford – Herrera|
|Keita: I turned down Barca and Bayern for Liverpool|
|Merritt stays ahead as rain halts Barbasol Championship|
|Roma had to sell Alisson to Liverpool, says Totti|
|Donald Trump: Kneeling players should be suspended without pay|
|Cardinals´ Carpenter makes history|
|Nationals pair Strasburg, Zimmerman activated from DL|
|Premier League-linked Plattenhardt feels at home at Hertha|
|Johnson expecting tough Granollers challenge|
|Good Luck at last! Colts quarterback fit for training camp|
|Haase humbles Rublev as Cecchinato charges on|
|Benzema hits back at ´crazy´ De Laurentiis over age jibe|
|Leeds Rhinos finally end winless streak in Super League|
|No freaky Friday for Spieth as he bounces back in round two|
|Double boost for Bouchard in Gstaad|
|Iconic Ronaldo to raise Serie A level - Roma´s Hamm|
|Brighton birthday boy March renews contract|
|Lamela hoping injuries are behind him after signing Tottenham extension|
|Where will I get my massage? - Roma´s Pallotta mocks UEFA ban|
|Rashid struck by Lightning amid speculation over Test recall|
|Major misses a mixed blessing for Fowler and Kuchar|
|Fleetwood, McIlroy and Spieth bare teeth as Kisner and Johnson lead|
|The Open 2018 diary: Fleetwood´s swinging in the rain, but it´s a slog for McIlroy|
|Fees agreed as Fabri closes in on Fulham move|
|Neymar and Mbappe have a very good relationship, claims PSG president|
|Boufal joins Celta Vigo on loan from Southampton|
|Leicester sign Ward from Liverpool amid Schmeichel speculation|
|Kisner philosophical after run-in with the Barry Burn|
|Gattuso unsure of Bonucci future|
|Verdasco, Gasquet advance but Ruud´s run is over in Bastad|
|James to remain at Bayern Munich, says Rummenigge|
|Texans QB Watson expects to be fit for training camp|
|Torpedo Moscow deny cancelling player´s contract over racist abuse|
|Napoli decry Cavani, Di Maria rumours as fake news|
|Kisner feels the Burn, Spieth on the surge|
|Woods: I could have cleaned up my round|
|Lille swoop for free agent Fonte|
|Sagan completes hat-trick after bunch sprint|
|´Amateur´ DFB needs Lahm´s help - Rummenigge|
|Horner expects Ricciardo new deal ´pretty quickly´|
|Diakhaby swaps Monaco for Huddersfield|
|Tottenham´s Lamela signs to 2022|
|Atletico´s Rodrigo excited to wear Simeone´s 14|
|F1 Raceweek: Red Bulls steal show from Mercedes but Ricciardo to start from back|
|Fakhar hits historic double hundred as Pakistan thrash Zimbabwe|
|Roma president Pallotta hit with three-month UEFA suspension|
|Hamburg extend contract of coveted youngster Jann-Fiete Arp|
|Steady start for Kisner as Woods endures mixed day at Carnoustie|
|Zach Johnson: Dustin comparisons are unfair|
|Neymar backs Tite for Brazil despite World Cup failure|
|Vinicius wants to play with ´idol´ Neymar but Perez calms transfer talk|
|One hundred not out for Els at The Open|
|Magnificent Maharaj takes eight wickets to stymie Sri Lanka|
|If I lose I´ll go down swinging - McIlroy ready for Carnoustie battle|
|UEFA confirms AC Milan reinstated to 2018-19 Europa League|
|Fleetwood: Open Championship is the one for me|
|Canberra coach Stuart brands bunker ´waste of time´ after controversial Cronulla loss|