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Wednesday, August 11, 1999 Published at 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK

Petit the pride of Arsenal

Dennis Bergkamp places the ball past Mart Poom for Arsenal's winner

Derby 1-2 Arsenal

Arsenal showed off their championship credentials with an eye-catching victory at Pride Park on Wednesday.

The BBC's Dave Woods: "Two moments of magic from Emmnauel Petit turned Arsenal's authority into victory"
The Gunners may have been rather lucky to win their first match of the season against Leicester on Saturday - but there was nothing fortunate about the way they defeated a durable Derby side.

High-class goals from Emmanuel Petit and Dennis Bergkamp cancelled out an equally spectacular strike from Rory Delap, as last season's runners-up collected maximum points.

[ image: The elusive Kanu skips past a lunging tackle from Spencer Prior]
The elusive Kanu skips past a lunging tackle from Spencer Prior
Arsenal's combination of fluid attacking movements and well-drilled defending proved irrestible.

Only some wayward finishing early on and a few second-half stutters prevented them winning by more than one goal.

Petit and fellow Frenchman Patrick Vieira were influential in midfield and a three-pronged attack of Bergkamp, Kanu and Thierry Henry gave the visitors great variety going forward.

Derby, by contrast, lacked a genuine creative spark, with strikers Mikkel Beck and Francesco Baiano largely detached up front.

Early assaults

Arsenal's illustrious forward line laid siege to the Derby ranks throughout the first half.

[ image: Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira celebrate a stunning opening goal]
Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira celebrate a stunning opening goal
But top-notch goalkeeping and some under-par finishing ensured they were unable to claim an early goal.

Mart Poom was an impressive presence in the Derby goal, keeping out a Vieira volley, a close-range strike from Henry and a Bergkamp effort.

The Estonian keeper's best save was reserved for Kanu, whose deflected shot he kept out with an athletic dive low to his left.

But even the in-form Poom could do nothing about Petit's 40th minute opener.

Arsene Wenger: "Petit is an example"
With the Derby defence back-tracking in the face of neat play from Vieira, Petit needed no second invitation, as he stroked a sublime 25-yard shot into the top right-hand corner of Poom's goal.

But from nowhere, Derby were suddenly going in at half-time on level terms.

Virtually every one of their first-half attacks had faded into nothing - and it was more of the same in the 45th minute when Beck failed to connect with a hopeful long ball.

But the ball fell at the feet of Delap and the former Carlisle man lashed a low volley across a desperate Alex Manninger and into the bottom corner.

Bergkamp keeps cool

[ image: Thierry Henry holds off a challenge from Stefano Eranio]
Thierry Henry holds off a challenge from Stefano Eranio
The shock of the equaliser seemed to instil Arsenal with renewed determination - and within seconds of the restart they were ahead again.

Petit caressed one of his trademark through-balls to Bergkamp - and, with the Derby defenders mistakenly appealing for off-side, the Dutchman had time to control the ball before side-footing it past a defenceless Poom.

Manninger was at full-stretch to keep out Horacio Carbonari's arrowing 35-yard free-kick, but otherwise Derby attacks were few and far between.

Arsenal were unable to control the second half to the same extent as the first - but they always did enough to stay in front and take their place at the top of the early season table.

Derby: Poom, Carbonari, Schnoor, Powell, Johnson, Delap, Laursen, Prior, Beck, Baiano, Eranio. Subs: Hoult, Burton, Harper, Elliott, Borbokis.

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Keown, Bergkamp, Henry, Parlour, Petit, Upson, Kanu. Subs: Silvinho, Grimandi, Boa Morte, Luzhny, Lukic.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley)

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