Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck twice as Unai Emery’s first Europa League game in charge of Arsenal ended with a straightforward victory over Vorskla Poltava.
Emery is a specialist in this competition having won it three years in a row while at Sevilla and the Gunners eased to a comfortable 4-2 win to start this season’s group stage in style – although conceding two late goals will have irked the Spaniard.
Aubameyang scored in either half for an Arsenal side showing eight changes from the weekend win at Newcastle, with Danny Welbeck and substitute Mesut Ozil also weighing in with goals.
Goalkeeper Bernd Leno was handed his debut following his move to the Emirates Stadium in the summer – but the German was unable to toast the occasion with a clean sheet.
Captain Volodymyr Chesnakov pulled one back for Vorskla, who added a second as Vyacheslav Sharpar scored with the final kick of the evening.
Head coach Vasyl Sachko took his Vorskla players on a tour of London before the game and as the night wore on, the visitors began to resemble some of the famous statues which adorn the capital’s landmarks.
Much of the first half offered more than an overhang of Arsene Wenger’s final campaign with a sparsely-populated stadium, wholesale changes to the starting XI and a struggle to break down clearly weaker opposition.
But once the deadlock had been broken by Aubameyang at the end of a swift counter-attack, the night belonged to Arsenal.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan collected the ball on the edge of his own box and burst forward before feeding Alex Iwobi, whose inch-perfect low cross was swept home by Aubameyang.
Lucas Torreira, on his first start for Arsenal, almost marked his full debut with a goal but could only hit the side-netting with a free-kick after Stephan Lichtsteiner had been fouled by Pavlo Rebenok.
The points were almost secured on the stroke of half-time as Arsenal twice came close to extending their lead.
Aubameyang drifted through the defence before hitting the outside of the post with a bending effort before Mkhitaryan forced a smart save out of Bogdan Shust moments later.
Emery’s side had just about hit their stride before the interval and looked to continue their dominance after the restart, only for Mkhitaryan to spurn a glorious chance.
He made amends by clipping in for Welbeck to head home the second soon after, with the gulf in class between the sides starting to show.
Aubameyang was starting to enjoy himself and, after missing a chance following more fine work from Iwobi, he tucked away a second of the night before being replaced by Ozil.
Arsenal took their foot off the gas with the points secured but – after introducing academy graduate Emile Smith-Rowe for his competitive debut – Ozil poked home a fourth after good work from Lichtsteiner.
Vorskla came here having failed to win any of their previous eight games in either the Europa League or UEFA Cup but did have a moment to savour as Chesnakov, who on the eve of the game named Ozil as his footballing idol, thrashed home for the visitors.
Leno was beaten again as Sharpar’s cool finish with the final kick of the contest saw Vorskla head back to Ukraine with two goals.