Gunners thrash last-placed Derby 6-2

London, April 29:

Substitute Emmanuel Adebayor scored three times and Arsenal won 6-2 at last-place Derby on Monday to guarantee themselves of at least a third-place finish in the English Premier League.

Nicklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott also scored against an already relegated team which has won only once in 36 games. The Rams also lost 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium in a game in which Adebayor also scored three.

The Gunners improved to 77 points, behind leaders Manchester United and Chelsea and seven more than fourth-place Liverpool. Derby, who won promotion through the playoffs last season, have 11 points and look certain to be relegated with the fewest points in top-flight history.

Arsenal led in the 25th minute when Derby defender Darren Moore lost possession and Bentdner exchanged passes with Van Persie before scoring. James McEveley equalised in the 31st when he redirected an inswinging free kick by Robbie Savage.

But the Gunners regained the lead nine minutes later when Van Persie chested down a floated pass from Kolo Toure and volleyed for the goal. Second-half substitute Adebayor made it 3-1 in the 59th, but Robert Earnshaw pulled the Rams within one goal in the 77th only for Theo Walcott to make it 4-2 in the 78th. Adebayor added two more in the 81st and final minutes.

In Monday’s other game, West Bromwich Albion made virtually sure of returning to the Premier League with a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Southampton.