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).
|BREAKING NEWS: Pochettino signs new deal with Tottenham|
|Istanbul to host 2020 Champions League final|
|Williams sisters given French Open wildcard|
|President Donald Trump praises NFL´s anthem stance|
|Buffon in consideration for Italy call, says Mancini|
|Roberts injured in Broncos win against Eels|
|Atletico complete move for Villarreal star Rodri|
|Ozil, Gundogan not playing politics, says Low|
|Valencia complete permanent Kondogbia signing|
|Fairytale ending could be in the script, says World Cup-bound Vardy|
|Milwaukee police apologise to Bucks´ Brown over tasering|
|Television, crosswords and Nintendo - Koscielny´s remedy to World Cup heartache|
|World Cup not an audition for Barca or Madrid, says Germany star Werner|
|Neck injury rules Kohli out of Surrey stint|
|Nine LaLiga titles and 674 club games under nine managers - Iniesta in Opta numbers|
|49ers Enterprises takes stake in Leeds United|
|Manchester United should sell Pogba if he´s unhappy - Scholes|
|Andres Iniesta´s nine LaLiga triumphs with Barcelona|
|Andres Iniesta: The footballers´ footballer|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah has foundations in place for Ballon d´Or challenge|
|Iniesta´s Vissel Kobe move confirmed|
|Low upbeat over Neuer´s World Cup hopes|
|´No secrets´ in playoffs, says Celtics rookie Tatum|
|Real Madrid v Liverpool: Salah takes his chances better than Ronaldo - Opta|
|Cubs, Yankees find very different ways to lose|
|Cole hoping to see Rooney in MLS amid DC United links|
|LeBron feeling worn down following Cavs loss|
|Rahm enjoys ´traditional golf courses´|
|Upbeat Spieth eyeing first win of 2018|
|Ovechkin leads Capitals into Stanley Cup Finals|
|Federer: Serena may be the greatest of all-time|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Gremio top group, River and Flamengo draw|
|Celtics rebound with key game-five win over Cavs|
|Warriors duo Thompson, Iguodala questionable for game five|
|Suarez: Iniesta hard to replace at Barcelona|
|Slipper suspended after positive cocaine test|
|Cardinals´ Ozuna absent from line-up because he overslept|
|Ancelotti a ´real coup´ for Napoli as Insigne thanks Sarri|
|Johnston ´amazed´ to see Liverpool in Champions League final|
|Fearless Loftus-Cheek embraces England pressure|
|Butland shocked by Hart absence|
|It´s a football club – Klopp on choosing Liverpool over Man United|
|Emery appointed after secret vote, says Arsenal chief|
|Klopp used Sevilla loss to inspire European title tilt - Henderson|
|Lineker, Stoichkov, Zico - the stars who blazed a J-League trail for Iniesta|
|Golf not fame drives McIlroy|
|De Villiers tributes led by Du Plessis, Kallis and Tendulkar|
|Buttler ´maturity´ is just what England need, says Vaughan|
|Fit-again Wawrinka returns to winning ways|
|Toulouse take giant step towards Ligue 1 survival|
|Jets will not punish players for incurring anthem-related fines|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton and Bottas looking to build momentum - Monaco GP in numbers|
|Steelers´ Antonio Brown advises Le´Veon Bell to ´show up´|
|Stephens out in Nuremberg, Stosur wins Strasbourg final rematch|
|Clippers extend coach Rivers´ contract|
|Ancelotti ´thrilled´ by Serie A return with Napoli|
|Carlo´s Angels? Napoli boss poses for unusual photograph|
|Brady will attend Patriots mini-camp despite OTA absence - Kraft|
|World Cup hero, Champions League master - the best of Andres Iniesta|
|Heading to my new home - Iniesta drops massive Vissel Kobe hint|
|Neymar fitter than Brazil expected ahead of World Cup|
|Jardim, Jokanovic reject Chelsea speculation|
|Knight Riders rally dumps out Royals in IPL eliminator|
|Salah, Mane, Firmino trio could blow Madrid away, says Redknapp|
|Napoli appoint Ancelotti after Sarri departure|
|NFL stars must stand for national anthem if on field|
|Mascherano laments Romero injury blow|
|´Mr 360´ De Villiers retires after going full circle|
|Ronaldo already a Real Madrid legend like Di Stefano - Nacho|
|Pep or Pepe? The Spanish footsteps Emery could follow|