Arsenal 0 Chelsea 0

And so there it was. All the hype about how an in form Arsenal would have their best chance to finally get a win over Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea ended in a drab 0-0 at the Emirates stadium. Substitute Danny Welbeck missed a late chance to grab the opener, and Per Mertersacker could only swing and miss at a loose ball from an initial effort which Thibaut Courtois could only palm away. In their earlier clash at Stamford Bridge, Gary Cahill’s tackle on Alexis Sanchez set up the infamous spat between the two mangers. Here too Alexis was being targeted, while Cahill was fortunate to be let off with just a telling off after raking his studs into the Chilean’s ankle. On his return to the club where he was captain, Cesc Fanregas was booed throughout the game, although there was also applause when he was taken off in the dying minutes of the game. At the final whistle, Mesut Ozil swapped shirts with Fabregas whose Chelsea side defended for the point with honours even in the end.

Having witnessed his side’s inability to break down the Blues, It was a sanguine Arsene Wenger who played down the fact that he and Arsenal had spurned their best chance to end the Mourinho hoodoo in recent seasons.

” It’s about our club and our team, not about me. What you want is to win the game for the club. The rest may be good for media talk but it’s less interesting ( for me personally ). What is important is what happens on the football pitch,” he reasoned.

What happened on the football pitch was not what the purist would have expected. Arsenal found it difficult to get into their neat passing stride, with John Terry and Cahill holding firm. Cahill was lucky to get away with a hand ball when Santi Cazorla aimed his shot, and at the other end, David Ospina came out when Oscar threatened from Fabregas’s through ball. A retreating Hector Bellerin headed past to clear. Oscar needed on field treatment and had to be replaced by Didier Drogba at half time with the Brazilian now heading for a precautionary hospital visit.

Fabregas was next booked for diving after tussle with Cazorla led the Blues’ number 4 to produce a theatrical dive and a yellow card for his troubles from referee Mike Oliver.

Arsenal passed the ball well and moved with precision until that is it came to the final third where a lack of correct pass section or a deep blue line would thwart their advances.

Chelsea headed in the opposite direction and the busy Willian found Ramires who hit a low shot which Ospina was alert to.

All energy and power, Alexis was busying himself in midfield and was the recipient of more of the rough stuff! but still got a shot away but wide of Courtois upright. More movement and the search for that killer pass, but this time although Ozil worked Courtois, the ball fell into his huge hands.

Olivier Giroud was unable to occupy the attentions of Cahill and Terry, but his hold up play still posed a worry for his markers, but alone up front, it was a tough ask to fire a clean shot. Early in the second half, Sanchez latched onto Nacho Monreal’s run and pass, but his shot was blocked for a corner by Terry. The Blues’ captain then mopped up as Ozil threatened.

The game didn’t have a particularly nasty edge, but how Willian escaped with just a yellow card when catching Laurent Koscielny in the face, only referee Michael Oliver will know.

Mertersacker’s swing and miss when he had more time summed up the Gunners’ afternoon, while Ivanovic finally got into the referee’s book for yet another foul on Alexis. Wenger brought on Theo Walcott and Welbeck in a now very offensive front line. With minutes remaining, Welbeck couldn’t connect with the goal at his mercy after excellent work from Monreal and Alexis.

” I think we did enough to win the game today and Chelsea defended well, ” continued Wrnger. I felt that we played with the right intensity in the first half. We dropped that in the second half and came back to the right level in the last 20 minutes. We could have finished the game off. Ozil had a good chance in the final minute of the game but they came to defend well, did it well and everybody knows that.”

Arsenal now drop to third with 67 points, the same as second placed Manchester City, but with a game in hand.