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BBC Sport's Simon Mann
reports from Highbury
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Derby deserves the point"
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Derby boss Jim Smith
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Derby's Rory Delap
"I took my eye off the ball"
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Saturday, 11 November, 2000, 18:37 GMT
Gunners fire blanks against Derby
Arsenal's Parlour (centre) battles for possession
Arsenal 0-0 Derby

Lethargic Arsenal were unable to break down a resolute Derby side in front of a frustrated crowd at Highbury.

The high-flying Gunners will be deeply disappointed to have gained only a point against the Premiership's bottom-placed side, especially as they dominated possession for most of the match.

But it was Derby who had the better chances, with makeshift striker Rory Delap guilty of missing three excellent chances.

On-form French forward Thierry Henry had the best opportunity to break the deadlock for Arsenal, but screwed his shot wide of goal when clean through in the second-half.

There is talent here with people like Chris Riggott, Seth Johnson and Malcolm Christie and I've told them they don't get selected for international squads for nothing
  Colin Todd
The Rams were surprisingly well-organised in defence for most of the game, with young Chris Riggott and Argentinian Horatio Carbonari particularly impressive.

Dennis Bergkamp was to the fore for dominant Arsenal early in the first-half, playing in the hole behind the strikers, and Sylvain Wiltord looked lively on a rare start.

Great chances

But Derby managed to hold on and had several gilt-edged chances.

On 22 minutes Malcolm Christie dispossessed veteran goalkeeper John Lukic on the edge of his area and swivelled to cross into the box.

Thierry Henry
Henry missed good second-half chance
Makeshift striker Rory Delap rose to aim a firm header at goal, but Martin Keown stretched to brilliantly block a certain goal.

Delap then put in an early contender for miss of the season. The ball fell to him unmarked on the edge of the six yard box, and he had time to balance himself before hitting the crossbar when it would have been easier to score.

Daryl Powell, who worked hard but frequently misused possession, was also guilty of wasting two good chances.

Worryingly for Arsenal, they handed Derby another excellent chance after the interval. Keown misplaced a pass, Christie outpaced Grimandi, but screwed his shot wide of Arsenal's post.

Mounting pressure

On the hour, Wiltord threaded a ball through to Henry, who advanced into the area and drew Poom, but slotted the ball well wide of the post.

I don't feel any extra pressure just because we've slipped two points behind Manchester United. There is only pressure if we keep failing to create chances
  Arsene Wenger
Arsenal piled forward for the last twenty minutes, but found Derby's defence in resolute mood. With ten minutes to go, Vieira fed Bergkamp, who lazily curled a shot from 20 yards out that Poom pushed over his crossbar.

From the resulting corner, Poom's punch fell to Henry on the edge of the area, and his shot was deflected out for a corner.

The Frenchman had another excellent chance soon after, advancing on goal before Johnson put in a superb tackle to dispossess him.

In the final few minutes Keown let the ball go over his head and it fell to Delap, who hit a volley hopelessly wide from close range.

And in the dying moments Arsenal had a penalty appeal turned down when Wiltord claimed he was brought down by Riggott.

Arsenal: Lukic, Vieira, Keown, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Henry, Parlour, Silvinho, Grimandi, Luzhny. Subs: Dixon, Kanu, Cole, Vernazza, Taylor.

Derby: Poom, Carbonari, Powell, Delap, Burley, Johnson, Kinkladze, Christie, Higginbotham, Martin, Riggott. Subs: Sturridge, Morris, Mawene, Valakari, Grant.

Referee: S Lodge (Barnsley).

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