Back at the scene of their FA Cup triumph, the Gunners tore into a lacklustre City side - which saw Willy Caballero start in goal ahead of Joe Hart - and were in control by half-time through well-worked goals from Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey, whose extra-time winner had beaten Hull on May 17 to end a nine-season trophy drought.
Substitute Olivier Giroud cracked home a third goal from 25 yards on the hour as City were subdued, but both rival managers Manuel Pellegrini and Arsene Wenger will know full well much sterner tests lie ahead before they hand out the honours again in nine months' time.
City did not have any Englishmen in their starting XI, but £30million Brazil midfielder Fernando was, while Bacary Sagna watched from the stands against his old club as did former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard, signed on loan from New York City FC.
Arsenal fielded summer recruits Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy, with World Cup winners Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski all still absent ahead of next week's Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.
Arsenal made most of the early running, as Sanchez combined well with Jack Wilshere
When City did get a corner, former Gunner Samir Nasri was loudly jeered by the Arsenal fans behind the goal - the French midfielder having labelled supporters of his old club "stupid" for their continued jibes since his big-money move three seasons ago.
Arsenal maintained pressure down the right, from where Debuchy - signed from Newcastle to replace Sagna - delivered a couple of decent crosses which were just too high for Yaya Sanogo, deployed as a central striker.
City felt they had a penalty claim on 14 minutes when Nasri crashed a shot at Debuchy, which the defender blocked with his chest at point-blank range rather than his arm, according to referee Michael Oliver.
The FA Cup winners were soon on the offensive again, this time left-back Kieran Gibbs marauding into the penalty area before his shot was blocked by Gael Clichy, another former Gunners now in sky blue.
Arsenal were ahead after 21 minutes.
Sanogo and Wilshere worked some space at the edge of the City penalty area, before the England man was upended by Dedryck Boyata.
The ball broke left to Cazorla, who sidestepped Clichy before sliding a low shot back across Caballero and into the far corner.
Sanogo then dragged a shot wide from the edge of the City penalty area as the Premier League champions were opened up again.
City showed a bit more invention as the first half drew towards a close, but lacked any real penetration in final third.
Edin Dzeko powered his way into the left side of the Arsenal penalty area, but his cutback towards Stevan Jovetic was blocked.
Arsenal doubled their lead after 42 minutes with a simple goal, yet one of the highest quality.
Sanchez's ball from the right was held up at the edge of the City box by Sanogo. The France forward showed great strength to lay a pass back to Ramsey, who stepped past his marker before clipping the ball into the net and wheeling away in celebration - just as he had done at the other end in the FA Cup final here some 12 weeks ago.
The second half saw the expected substitutions by both teams.
Arsenal replaced Sanchez with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sanogo with Giroud and Laurent Koscielny with Nacho Monreal. For City, David Silva replaced Nasri.
The Premier League champions looked more lively following Silva's introduction and Jovetic saw his header strike the post following a deep right-wing cross by Jesus Navas.
Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny then produced a good save as he stopped a low effort from the Montenegro forward.
On the hour, Giroud cracked in a sublime third.
There seemed little on for the France forward when he picked the ball up some 25 yards from goal, surrounded by three defenders. But that did not matter as Giroud promptly fired in a rising effort which nicked off Matija Nastasic and into the roof of the net.
The closing stages were low key, but the end result will nevertheless give Arsenal fans hopes they may just be able to last the distance with City when the action gets under way for real next weekend.