London: Emmanuel Adebayor came off the bench to score a second-half hattrick as Arsenal crushed relegated Derby County 6-2 at Pride Park in the Premier League on Monday.
Arsenal moved on to 77 points, a tally that ensures they will finish at least third. Manchester United and Chelsea occupy the top two spots, both on 81 points.
Although Arsenal still have a remote mathematical chance of winning the title if United and Chelsea were to collapse in their final two matches, there was an end of season atmosphere about the game in which Derby started the better side.
But a dreadful mistake by Darren Moore set up Arsenals opening goal by Nicklas Bendtner after 25 minutes and handed the initiative to the visitors, who also crushed Derby 5-0 at the Emirates in September, and they never lost it.
Derby conceded six goals for the second home match in succession after a 0-6 rout by Aston Villa.
Derby, who have only 11 points, are on course to finish with the lowest total since the Premier League began in 1992. Their only league win came against Newcastle in September.
West Bromwich Albion, meanwhile, effectively returned to the Premier League after two seasons in the Championship (second division) when they drew 1-1 at home with Southampton at The Hawthorns on Monday.
Only the most unlikely of mathematical upsets would prevent their promotion. West Brom, three points clear of third-placed Hull City, have a goal difference of plus-31 while Hulls is plus-19 with one match to play.
The draw, which took West Brom to the top of the table on 78 points level with Stoke City, was greeted by thousands of fans swarming on to the pitch at the end of the match. (Reuters)