Football: Bergkamp puts Arsenal in clear

County 1 Arsenal 2

A WEEK AGO Arsenal were still caught up in the Nicolas Anelka saga but it has only taken 180 minutes of football for their summer of discontent to mature into an autumn of promise. The season may still be embryonic but the Gunners already lead the nascent Premiership, five points ahead of their main rivals, Manchester United, and three ahead of Chelsea.

Although the margin of victory was narrow, and the closing moments tense, Arsenal fully deserved last night's second success in four days over East Midlands opposition. Though a stunning goal from Emmanuel Petit after 39 minutes was swiftly cancelled out by Rory Delap, Arsenal secured victory through Dennis Bergkamp's second goal of the season two minutes into the second period.

Arsenal gave Thierry Henry his first start in place of Marc Overmars and Matthew Upson a rare, and welcome, appearance for Gilles Grimandi, who was on the bench.

Derby, who replaced the injured Tony Dorigo and Dean Sturridge with Stefan Schnoor and Mikkel Beck, began more brightly, but were quickly forced back by Arsenal's fluent passing and movement. After six minutes Ray Parlour won a free-kick from Schnoor. Taken by Dennis Bergkamp it was only half- cleared and Patrick Vieira brought a decent save from Mart Poom with a 20-yard volley.

Though Rory Delap headed over from a 16th-minute corner the balance of the first half-hour was more accurately reflected by a brace of shots each from Henry, Bergkamp and Emmanuel Petit. However only two, from Bergkamp and Henry, brought Poom into action.

Derby's response was to increase their aggression but it only brought bookings for Darryl Powell and Horacio Carbonari to add to the five incurred at Elland Road on the opening day.

Arsenal, unusually, resisted the temptation to trade bruises, instead concentrating on their passing. They were almost rewarded by fate when a Seth Johnsen pass was inadvertently diverted by Steven Lodge, the referee, into Kanu's path. Only a fine, diving save from Poom saved Lodge embarrassment.

The pressure was bound to tell eventually and, after 39 minutes, Petit finally got his range right with a spellbinding 28-yard shot which dipped and curled its way past Poom. Given Arsenal's midfield dominance the match seemed settled, but Derby rallied to level before the break when Keown's clearance from Beck was rifled past Alex Manninger from 25 yards by Delap.

Having gained undeserved parity Derby threw it away within minutes of the restart. Their defence, perhaps fooled by Kanu's dummy, stepped up too late to play Bergkamp offside from Petit's pass. The Dutchman's finish was typically immaculate.

Derby, to their credit, refused to concede defeat, continuing to contest every loose ball and yard of space, Manninger tipping over the bar from a Carbonari free-kick just after the hour.

In an increasingly fractious match Schnoor was carried off after being hauled down by Kanu and Dixon received a forearm in the face from Prior.

Arsenal, however, generally kept their discipline and their tempers although Henry and Keown were both booked as Derby raised the pace at the end.

Derby County (3-5-2): Poom; Laursen, Carbonari (Harper, 78), Prior; Delap, Powell, Johnson, Baiano, Schnoor (Borbokis, 60); Eranio, Beck (Burton, 78). Substitutes not used: Hoult, Elliott.

Arsenal (4-4-2): Manninger; Dixon, Keown, Upson, Winterburn; Parlour (Silvinho, 22), Vieira, Petit, Henry (Boa Morte, 85); Kanu (Luzhny, 74), Bergkamp. Substitutes not used: Lukic (gk), Luzhny, Boa Morte, Grimandi.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London