Wenger stays calm after Arsenal destroy Everton

Liverpool: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to get carried away after his side routed Everton 6-1 on the opening day of the Premier League season at Goodison Park.

Victory left the Gunners top of the table after many pundits had questioned whether the London club could maintain its status as one of English football`s `Big Four` alongside champions Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

"From before the game being ruled out by everybody to now become a super favourite, there`s two extremes," Wenger told reporters after Saturday`s success. "It was an interesting first game."

Denilson, William Gallas and new signing Thomas Vermaelen all scored in the first-half, with Cesc Fabregas adding two in the second-half and Eduardo rounding off the rout before Everton`s Louis Saha added a last-minute consolation.

Arsenal have not won a major trophy since the 2005 FA Cup and had another quiet off-season, selling Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to big-spending Manchester City and only bringing in Belgian defender Vermaelen.

Fabregas, who dedicated both his goals to his close friend and Espanyol captain Dani Jarque who died from heart failure on August 8, was not unhappy to see Adebayor and Toure leave.

"They are great players, but they had problems, they did not want to stay and continue at Arsenal," the Spain midfielder said.

"It was the best thing for them to do, I think for us as well because we want players who are committed, who want to be together for the season," the Arsenal captain added.

"We want to win things together and we can do it if we keep playing like that."

Meanwhile Wenger said this victory was not a shock as far as he was concerned.

"People are surprised, but last year we were the team that scored more goals than anybody away from home (37) and we have an unbeaten run in the Premier League away from home," the Frenchman explained.

"Of course it`s a big surprise to win with such a big score but we know we can win away from home.”

"It was a good team performance, but I feel overall there`s still room for improvement," Wenger added.

"I`m very happy with the cohesion and team attitude really. We look like we have matured and it`s a good basis to continue to improve."

Wenger blamed Everton`s display on the recent international football window, rather than any disruption caused by Manchester City`s interest in Toffees defender Joleon Lescott.

"We took every chance we created in the first half and Everton were maybe a bit disturbed by the international week, a bit flat physically," he said.

Arsenal now face Celtic in Champions League qualifying on Tuesday and Everton manager David Moyes was fearful for his former club.

"Arsenal have got a real capability of scoring on the counter attack," he said. "Every time we had a shot at goal and we let it go from the goalkeeper`s arms, they nearly scored at the other end. I was nearly hoping that more shots were going to fly past the post."

Moyes, who said he could not find any positives from the performance, deflected questions about Lescott`s future and said it was now down to him to raise Everton`s morale.

"It certainly knocked the confidence for us all," he said. "The defending was terrible for the set-pieces. We need to do better, I need to do better.”

"There`s maybe one or two reasons but there`s no excuses. I`ll take my responsibility. You`ve got to remember that was the same team that finished fifth last season and got to the FA Cup final."

Bureau Report