Morning everyone, what a game that was yesterday. It had me ecstatic when taking the lead first, then pissed off that Derby could possibly score on us, then thrilled when we put five more goals past them, it had everything.
We started off with almost the lineup I had predicted, it went like this:
Derby really were fighting for it and kept us on our heels at times during the first twenty minutes. They had a shot deflect off of Alex Song that would have gone in if it had been two feet to the left and they had a good low cross that nobody could really get a foot on.
Our first goal came a bit against the run of play I'd have to say. We weren't looking all that much like conceding but we certainly hadn't looked like scoring either. Bendtner got the ball off a horrendous pass from the Derby defender and played a quick one two with Nicky B who slotted it into the corner through Roy Carroll's legs.
Robin van Persie should have made it two just a few minutes later as he was fed by a beautiful pass from Walcott but he somehow managed to miss with no defenders anywhere near him inside the box. You have to say that it was a shot he would have made last year or the beginning of this year.
Just a bit later though Derby got back into it. Alex Song gave away a free kick out near the sideline which Robbie Savage took. There was a goalmouth scramble a little bit and eventually it wound up in the net to make it 1-1. Probably not the best defending or goalkeeping examples on that play, it was just poor all around.
We got back on track though a minute later, when Kolo Toure played an absolutely perfect ball over the top to van Persie who made no mistake and volleyed it in. It was a wonderful goal and it reminded me of Dennis Bergkamp a lot. So we went in to half time up 2-1 and while I didn't think Derby looked like coming back, you can just never tell with our shoddy defense.
The second half brought the introduction of Emmanuel Adebayor, our savior of this season, due to the injury Robin picked up. They said thigh strain but we'll have to wait and see after they check him out. Just a shame he's always injured.
We had a couple of good chances to start the second half. Walcott made a good run into the box, avoided a challenge the squared for Eboue, who flopped around and somehow the ball came to Adebayor who of course scored. 3-1 to the Arsenal and it was looking much more comfortable.
In the next few minutes Kolo Toure had a couple of shots that blazed just over the bar and Bendtner led Theo through for one that he shot from outside the box when he probably had more time. He hit it low to the corner with some spin on it like Thierry used to do but it just didn't have enough spin and it went outside the post.
Next thing you know though we had conceded another goal. Rob Earnshaw got by Gallas and finished it nicely past Fabianski to make it 3-2.
We got back on track right away though. Gilberto played a pass across to Theo who ran into the box on the left, cut inside of a defender and quickly fired a curling effort that there was no way Carroll was going to stop. Great goal by Theo and we were up 4-2.
Adebayor felt like a bit more scoring and he got on the end of Clichy's cross first time and knocked it in the net to make it 5-2.
The last goal was really nice though, Cesc played Adebayor through who outran the whole defense, calmly nudged it past Carroll who was charging out, then fired home from an acute angle to make it 6-2.
So it finished 6-2, and while our defense was shaky, our offense got in full flow, especially in the second half where we really could have made it about ten goals.
Man of the Match: Emmanuel Adebayor. The man has thirty goals this season. Not one person out there predicted that and yet he still gets crap every day from people who say he's no good. Where would we be without Adebayor this year? Our next highest scorer (Cesc) has thirteen goals. People should really give Ade some credit because he has kept us near the top all season.
Needs Work: Defending, yet again. Mostly just central defending though. Gallas looks more and more shaky and while Clichy and Toure I think played well, the second goal Derby scored was just too easy and it came down to poor central defending. It needs to be addressed.
And that's your match report. Feel free to check out the new forums section and add your input! I'll be back tomorrow with lots of transfer news and looking ahead to our game against Everton. Cheers!