A piece of genius from Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson’s stunning stoppage-time strike earned dominant Everton a richly-deserved victory over West Ham United at a raucous Goodison Park.
Marco Silva’s team assumed control in the opening minutes and never relinquished their grip on the contest.
Indeed, the scoreline does not accurately tell the story of a day on which Everton could have won by a street.
As it was, West Ham weren’t out of the game until the death and it needed Jordan Pickford to produce a tremendous reaction stop from Angelo Ogbonna’s deflected late strike for Everton to retain their lead.
Bernard’s was plainly in the mood here, that much apparent from the way he travelled through the middle of the pitch with the ball glued to his feet soon after the first whistle.
The Brazilian’s energy and ambition were mirrored everywhere you looked in Everton’s football.
Silva’s side rushed the life out of West Ham, demoralising the visitors with their refusal to give up an inch of ground.
When Bernard opened the scoring, then, it was a goal Everton’s dominance merited.
It was a good one, too, the sort which draws gasps in equal measure to roars.
Bernard cushioned Theo Walcott’s pass into the box, using the outside of his boot to turn away from goal and decline the most obvious route to a likely breakthrough.
The South American had defender Arthur Masuaku’s number, though, and sent his opponent up a few blind alleys before finally escaping to slot low past Roberto.
For Sigurdsson’s part, he came on and instantly had Roberto diving to his right to save. Not long after the board showing four minutes would be added, Sigurdsson had another go. This one was a pearler, dispatched like an Exocet from 20 yards and flying into the top-left corner.
It was only down to Roberto that the Hammers were level by the time Everton struck.
Bernard flung over a corner in the eighth minute which Pablo Fornals inadvertently glanced to the far post.
Tom Davies arrived on cue and steered on target but was thwarted by a fine reaction stop.
Even before then, Walcott had engaged in some jinking and weaving of his own after killing Digne’s lofted ball on the edge of the box – only to have his effort deflected off target.
Everton were conclusively on top, banishing memories of the fourth minute when Manuel Lanzini’s free-kick zipped wide of Pickford’s left post.
Indeed Bernard’s goal could have ushered in a few more but for a mix of sound goalkeeping and alert defending.
Richarlison left Issa Diop standing with a dart down the left on 19 minutes but as he was poised to shoot the Everton man was balked by Ogbonna on the cover.
Three minutes later, Richarlison did get his shot away, released by Alex Iwobi’s delicate pass but skimming his shot against the foot of Roberto’s left upright.
Roberto did well to save down to his right from Iwobi and Walcott in quick succession and another Walcott effort – this one an improvised bicycle kick – flew over the top.
As for Roberto’s Everton counterpart Pickford, he was lightly run in the opening 45 minutes.
When Fornals bombed into the box to meet a cross from Mark Noble, the England keeper saved without any bother.
West Ham did hang around in a bid to inject more creativity into their football. Andriy Yarmolenko, twice a scorer in the fixture last term, came on at the break for Anderson.
Immediately after the restart, though, there was little indication of the narrative changing.
Richarlison was offside when he turned home Digne’s delivery and the Brazilian – playing as Everton’s out-and-out frontman – had another couple of charges halted by defenders, unfairly in hiw view, an opinion shared by the majority inside an increasingly vocal Goodison Park.
Yarmolenko did escape to dig out a cross on 50 minutes, though, picking out Fornals in space but scuffing wide of the far post.
Roberto sprung to his left to cling to a header from Yerry Mina – he repeated the act in identical circumstances shortly past the hour – and the game was opening up, spaces appearing as the pace of the football dipped a fraction.
A Pickford dead ball was returned to Everton’s half for Manuel Lanzini to try his luck from distance. The Argentine got hold of his effort but needed it to dip sooner to trouble Pickford.
Everton were treading a fine line, in charge and looking capable of scoring whenever they went forward but very conscious only one goal separated the teams.
Digne, captaining Everton in the Premier League for the first time, rippled the side netting with a free-kick after 59 minutes.
When West Ham broke soon after, Mina stepped out of defence and wrested back possession. The Colombian’s imperious intervention reflected his team’s positive approach all afternoon.
Walcott, who was very good on Everton’s right, smacked the bar with a scorching effort from 25 yards – albeit had he found the net it would probably have been scratched off with three blue shirts stood offside.
In fact, the chief cause of concern lay in the slenderness of Everton’s advantage far and above what was happening on the field.
The Hammers made their final two changes – Jack Wilshere and Swiss forward Albian Ajeti both thrown on – but the direction of traffic remained unchanged.
Sidibe galloped forward and slid a neat pass inside for Iwobi, the forward’s poked strike straight at Roberto and kept out by the keeper’s legs.
There was a chance for West Ham to snatch a point, though.
A big one. A controversial corner was deflected to Ogbonna eight yards from goal. He directed it on target but Pickford – not helped by a deflection off Mina – saved brilliantly to his left.
Sigurdsson then, exquisitely, put the seal on Everton’s victory and sent Goodison into raptures.
Bernard Makes Good On His Vow
Bernard sat in an office at Everton’s USM Finch Farm training headquarters this week and detailed an acute personal ambition to improve his key numbers.
The Brazilian was excellent at times in his debut Everton campaign last term. His exquisite touch and feinting and dribbling – bolted to an intuitive understanding with Lucas Digne – made for wonderful viewing.
Bernard is easy on the eye; a joy to watch – ‘Joyful Legs’ he was christened in his homeland.
He scored some fabulous goals back in Brazil, too, locating the net with all manner of glittering strikes for first club Atletico Mineiro.
Last season he played 36 matches for Everton and contributed directly to six goals, scoring two.
In short, then, Bernard wanted to up that ratio. He scored against Watford in Everton’s opening home game to get off on a decent note this time round.
The South American talked, too, in that interview on Tuesday of Everton’s players needing to have belief in their own quality to engineer an improvement in results.
Bernard certainly trusts his ability and because of that illuminated Goodison Park with a thrilling goal to give Everton’s dominance the reward it deserved.
Albeit most of Goodison probably wondered if Bernard’s chance had gone when he checked away from goal on receiving Theo Walcott’s pass in the box.
The player knew best, dropping his shoulder and twisting one way then another to bamboozle Arthur Masuaku.
West Ham left-back Masuaku could see the number on Bernard’s shirt by the time the Brazilian was staring into the whites of Roberto’s eyes.
Spanish goalkeeper Roberto was hoodwinked into going to ground early. Bernard, though, still had little to work with, only a narrow opening at the keeper’s near post.
Not a problem. Bernard squeezed the ball through the gap and into the back of the net.
He’s matched last season’s goal tally before the clocks go back. Bernard, it would seem is intent on driving his team forward.
This was a 50th Premier League start for Tom Davies just four months after his 21st birthday – but a first since 9 February.
Davies was deployed next to Andre Gomes, the Portuguese back after a rib complaint restricted him to six minutes of football in the past seven weeks.
The younger man in Davies had Everton’s first clear opportunity of the day, barrelling in at the back post but denied by Roberto in West Ham’s goal after Bernard’s left-wing corner on eight minutes reached the far post.
Davies’s surge typified his attitude from the outset. He got in his opponents faces and with the ball looked to progress upfield.
The England Under-21 captain sprung his side on the attack on 14 minutes with a pass threaded through a narrow corridor for Bernard, the Brazilian instantly feeding Gomes who sprung Lucas Digne down Everton’s left.
Davies’s harrying forced Mark Noble to slice into touch inside Everton’s half just past the quarter hour.
The moment didn’t feel especially significant – but West Ham didn’t see the ball again until Roberto was retrieving it from his net.
Everton took the throw deep on the left and advanced in a hurry, Theo Walcott eventually unpicking the lock for Bernard to bustle through the door.
Davies’s prompting had Everton on the front foot again midway through the opening 45 minutes. His pass drilled into Alex Iwobi, enabled the Nigerian to conjure something more subtle for Richarlison, who skimmed a shot against the post.
When West Ham tried to escape their own half not long after Davies was round Felipe Anderson in a flash to recover possession and keep Everton’s foot squashed on their visitors’ throats.
At the midway point, Davies had attempted more passes  than any other Everton player – 21 of those struck in West Ham territory.
Only ubiquitous full-back Lucas Digne had taken more touches than Davies’s 38.
Davies has been anchoring midfield for his country of late and his defensive antennae was working when he tracked Yarmolenko’s run to switch off the lights on a dangerous West Ham attack.
Indeed, with Everton’s lead slim and the clock ticking down Davies’s defensive nous was very useful.
He fairly took off to block one shot in the penalty area. A metaphor for the impact this match might have on his season, perhaps?
Lucas Digne captained Everton in a Premier League game for the first time and led by example.
The mobile Frenchman did not stand still all afternoon and his industry was matched on the opposite side of defence by Djibril Sidibe.
Former Lille player Sidibe was making his Goodison Park bow after featuring twice away from home in the Carabao Cup this season.
He drew a loud ovation for the turn of pace which enabled him to shut off Felipe Anderson’s attempt to counter early in the match and continued to impress from that moment.
Sidibe’s powerful and direct brand of attacking strikes a contrast to the smaller and more subtle Digne.
In terms of effectiveness, however, there is little to choose between the France international pair.
Sidibe gave Evertonians a glimpse of his creative wares with the raking ball which teed up Dominic Calvert- Lewin to score at Sheffield Wednesday this month.
Here he repeatedly drove forward, moving intelligently – especially when changing direction to open up the flank for Richarlison in the opening half.
Sidibe owns a deal of finesses, too, and he employed it to square for Alex Iwobi late in the game.
Iwobi’s low stab was saved but Sidibe undeterred. He won the ball on halfway – which Everton did on countless occasions – to free Walcott with another fine pass.
Defensively he was strong, using his might frame to frustrate opponents and release pressure on his own team.
Digne, meanwhile was efficiency personified on the left. He had more touches than any Everton player  with Sidibe second on 62.
The pair played together at Lille and have shared a dressing room with France.
Sidibe and Digne were friends reunited to telling effort on a very good afternoon for Everton.