Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has constructed some wonderful football teams during his time in charge at the club, and the home crowd last night sensed they might just be viewing the birth of another.
Club-record signing Mesut Oezil - looking worth every penny of his £43million deadline day fee - scored his first goal for the home side, as Arsenal took control of Champions League Group F with a comfortable 2-0 win over Napoli.
Oezil, signed from Real Madrid, dispatched a classy finish on eight minutes following a fine cross by in-form Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey. The German then turned provider to set up Olivier Giroud for a quick-fire second with just quarter of an hour played to leave Rafael Benitez's men shell-shocked.
It was a 10th straight win in all competitions for Arsenal, who have stormed to the top of the Barclays Premier League and are now firmly on course for safe passage through to the knockout stages of Europe's elite club competition.
They started brightly, and with England midfielder Jack Wilshere on the bench as Mikel Arteta came into the team along with fit-again Czech playmaker Tomas Rosicky. Teenager Serge Gnarby, who scored in the win at Swansea on Saturday, was also among the substitutes.
Arsenal swept into the lead on eight minutes with a goal of the highest quality. Giroud, who turned 27 on Tuesday, laid the ball out right as Ramsey darted clear. The midfielder, enjoying a fine personal start to the new campaign, strode towards the byeline before looking up and clipping a perfectly weighted pass back towards the penalty spot. Oezil arrived on cue to cushion an instinctive half-volley past former Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina to open his Arsenal account in some style.
Before Napoli - missing injured Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain, who was one of Wenger's summer transfer targets - could mount a recovery, they trailed 2-0 on 15 minutes. Giroud latched on to a poor throw-in to find Oezil on the right.
The playmaker waltzed past his markers and into the penalty area before cutting a pass back to Giroud, who had continued his run on through to the six-yard box, and the France forward promptly crashed home his sixth goal from close range.
Benitez had talked about the need to calm the euphoria following Napoli's home win over last season's beaten finalists Borussia Dortmund.
But for Benitez, who guided Chelsea to Europa League success while 'interim manager' last season, it was very much a case of damage limitation before his side had even got a chance to get into the match. Oezil was revelling in his role as the heartbeat of the side.
The visitors had tried to raise their game before the break and defender Miguel Britos sent a towering header over the Arsenal crossbar following a corner. Any thoughts of a recovery, though, were short-lived as Arsenal were soon back on the offensive.
Napoli captain Marek Hamsik, sporting a magnificent Mohican haircut, weaved into the Arsenal area but could not get a shot away before the ball rolled to the goalkeeper. The home side came out of the blocks quickly in the second half, but this time found Napoli's defence regrouped - no doubt following a few choice words from Benitez - and no real space to exploit as both full-backs tucked in. With just under half an hour to go, Wenger replaced Rosicky with Wilshere, but the tempo of the match had already long dropped.
It should have been 3-0 on 75 minutes when Arteta's flick-on through a crowded box was met by Laurent Koscielny, but his snapshot was straight at Reina from point-blank range. With Dortmund beating Marseille, the group is now very much Arsenal's for the taking, with a double-header next against the Bundesliga leaders.