Arsenal 5 Derby County 0: Arsenal lay waste to Derby as Fabregas inspires high five

Adebayor hits hat-trick as County endure another lesson in the top flight

Like the first sighting of a cuckoo in spring, a first recommendation for Footballer of the Year is always worth looking out for. Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas received a mention in the wake of last week's win against Spurs and although voting does not take place for another seven months, it was a good shout.

The little midfielder was outstanding in that game and quite superb yesterday, running an utterly one-sided encounter for the Premier League leaders, setting up two of the goals and scoring a corker himself before Emmanuel Adebayor completed a hat-trick.

When Fabregas was substituted 20 minutes from the end, which looked like an act of clemency towards the opposition from Arsène Wenger, the visiting supporters joined in the applause. In the end-of-season awards, those who follow Derby away from home should be rewarded.

The record to date on their team's return to the Premier League reads four straight away defeats with no goals scored and no fewer than 16 conceded.

Any encouragement they derived from a first victory of the season at home to Newcastle last Monday soon evaporated in the face of another demanding away fixture and a hard winter beckons, but their manager, Billy Davies, a walking definition of optimism, is of the Captain Mainwaring school: "We don't want any of that talk here, Wilson. We don't get despondent at all," he insisted.

"We're going into a run of games where we've got to compete and pick up points. The first seven matches we've probably played the top sides in the League. We don't need to go to Liverpool or Arsenal again and at Pride Park we'll take anybody on."

Having surrendered three goals in the opening quarter of an hour at Tottenham on their last visit to north London, Derby's first priority was to avoid a repeat. So conceding only once in that period was an improvement of sorts, even if a second arrived little more than halfway through the first half, and a third soon after the interval.

The first blow took 10 minutes to land and a thunderous one it was. Fabregas fed Abou Diaby, who prevented three defenders from laying a boot on him as he moved inside and hit a tremendous shot into the top corner of the net off a post from 25 yards.

In the 25th minute Gaël Clichy won possession in midfield and Fabregas – who else? – sent Adebayor through to round the goalkeeper and elude the covering defender, Claude Davis. Derby had a case for claiming the striker was offside, but in their position they do not expect to receive the rub of the green. By half-time the damage could easily have been as bad as it was at White Hart Lane.

There was a standing ovation for Fabregas every time he went across to take a corner, and another one, well merited, for Arsenal as they jogged off at the interval. Derby had managed no more than one gentle looping header from Kenny Miller by that stage, and five minutes into the second half they fell foul of officialdom's welcome, if belated, campaign to clamp down on shirt-pulling.

Matt Oakley's offence was not the worst of its kind and Eduardo da Silva, in the side for Robin van Persie, fell dramatically but a tug there was and Adebayor rolled the penalty kick past Stephen Bywater's dive.

Even when 3-0 ahead, Arsenal's central defender Kolo Touré suddenly materialised in Derby's penalty area to head wide; no prizes for guessing who supplied him. With 20 minutes to play Fabregas performed his final act before being replaced. It was a glorious one too, as he collected a short pass from Eduardo, veered to the right and fizzed a drive past Bywater from 20 yards.

Just to prove they could do it without him, Arsenal added a fifth goal, Adebayor scoring his third after adroitly chesting down Denilson's cross under pressure.

Wenger believes that his striker has become physically stronger and calmer in his finishing at the same time. He declined to make the obvious comparison with Chelsea's style of play, but agreed: "It was really enjoyable to watch. That's not linked to Chelsea's situation but it's what we aspire to."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor