More please! That is the only appropriate response to a performance like this. Unless, of course, you are one of the teams chasing Arsenal. Arsène Wenger's men were wonderful, each of their goals a work of beauty. Norwich could not cope. Few teams could. The season is young but if Arsenal continue to attack with such regal aplomb, it will take a special side to oust them from the top of the Premier League.
This was not a perfect display – Norwich did score, after all – but it contained enough class to suggest that a campaign that has begun well could keep getting better for Arsenal. And that, as it happened, was the pattern that this match followed. The portents were good for the home side. Their supporters had been anticipating the resumption of Premier League action after the international break even more eagerly than usual, as Santi Cazorla's recovery from injury meant he was fit to feature alongside Mesut Özil for the first time. The prospect of that ingenious duo conspiring to outwit opponents whetted the appetite.
It seemed a pity to leave out Aaron Ramsey to accommodate the Spaniard but attacking midfield is where Arsenal are best endowed and no one could complain about Wilshere conniving with Özil and Cazorla instead. And a first-half injury to Mathieu Flamini meant Ramsey soon joined in the fun anyway.
The first goal encapsulated Arsenal's sublime movement and imagination. They had dominated from the outset and in the 18th minute Wilshere took possession deep in his own half and fed Cazorla. The Spaniard scurried down the left before a pair of improvised one-twos culminated with Olivier Giroud flicking the ball on for Wilshere, who surged past nonplussed Norwich defenders to volley calmly into the net from eight yards.
"That was certainly one of the best goals I've seen in my time here," said Wenger. "It was a mixture of technical quality, speedy thinking, quick reactions so it had nearly everything you want." Chris Hughton said that "there are not many teams who could score a goal like that". With Ricky van Wolfswinkel out with injury, Gary Hooper made his first league start for Norwich since his summer move from Celtic, but the lone striker was starved of service as Arsenal remained in control. Only John Ruddy prevented heavier damage in the 38th minute, when Kieran Gibbs robbed Russell Martin and crossed for Giroud, whose first-time shot was tipped around the post by the goalkeeper.
Arsenal had a setback when Flamini suffered concussion in a clash of heads with Alex Tettey in the 37th minute and had to be replaced. Ramsey came on but as Arsenal readjusted Norwich asserted themselves as an attacking force for the first time – Wojciech Szczesny dived full-length in the 43rd minute to paw away a ferocious shot by Leroy Fer.
Norwich continued to pose problems in the second half but, in the 58th minute, Özil struck on the counterattack. Given the unpredictability with which Arsenal's attackers flitted and floated all afternoon, it was fitting that the goal came from a reversal of expected roles, with Giroud crossing for the German to head into the net from eight yards. That was Wenger's cue to withdraw Cazorla to preserve him for Tuesday's Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund but Norwich soon showed that, in fact, there was still work to be done here. Jonny Howson halved the deficit in the 70th minute by firing low into the net from the edge of the box.
Arsenal regained their two-goal lead in sumptuous style. Ruddy twice repelled rockets by Ramsey but was helpless when he tried a more artful approach, waltzing past three defenders in the box before slotting perfectly into the net. There was still time for Arsenal to produce another masterpiece, as Özil claimed his second goal by slotting into the net after a delicate cross by Tomas Rosicky and a cut-back by Ramsey.
"In recent years we have been behind [in the league] by October. Now we are in a better position but there is a long way to go," said Wenger, trying to keep a lid on expectations as his team inflated them.