Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and an own-goal by Everton old boy Mikel Arteta saw the Toffees, who have a game in hand over Arsenal, record a convincing victory.

"It was a very good performance," Everton manager Roberto Martinez told Sky Sports.

"The most pleasing aspect had to be the manner in which we defended, our concentration and discipline off the ball," added Martinez, who took over at Goodison ahead of this season after former manager David Moyes left to join Manchester United.

Dejected Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger conceded his side had showed a "lack of fight" and that the manner of this defeat was a "massive worry" for the north London club.

"Was there a lack of fight? You could say that," said Wenger. "It is a massive worry to lose a game like that.

"We have to analyse it well and come back with a different attitude, with more personality and stronger challenges. We have to go back to basics."

Naismith gave the home side a 14th minute lead when, after Lukaku's shot was kicked clear by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, he side-footed the loose ball into the net.

And 20 minutes later, Martinez's side, knocked out of the FA Cup by Arsenal, doubled their lead.

Lukaku, playing on the wing, collected the ball wide on the right, drove past Nacho Monreal and around Thomas Vermaelen before unleashing a powerful left-footed shot past Szcesny from the edge of the box.

Arsenal, who've always qualified for the European club football's elite Champions League but are now in danger of missing out on a top four finish that would see them into next term's edition, tried to respond in the second half.

But Wenger's visitors, whose season could hang on the outcome of next weekend's FA Cup semi-final against Wigan, fell further behind in the 62nd minute.

Kevin Mirallas dispossessed Bacary Sagna and sprinted off towards goal before playing in Naismith, who was blocked from rounding Szczesny.

But as the ball came loose Mirallas and Arteta tussled for the ball only for Arteta to get the final touch to divert it into the Gunners' net, with this defeat all but ending Arsenal's slim hopes of winning the Premier League this season.

Everton's near neighbours Liverpool can make it a memorable day all-round for Merseyside football as they will return to the top of the Premier League table if they avoid defeat away to West Ham later Sunday.