Arsenal can’t find a route to goal past the Chelsea bus
Arsenal and Chelsea played out a goalless draw in the Premier League at the Emirates this afternoon.
The result edges Chelsea closer to the Premier League title. They require two wins to be confirmed as Champions.
Arsenal remain third in the table, behind Manchester City on goal difference.
The Gunners are left still searching for a first win against Chelsea since 2011, and Arsene Wenger is still to record a victory over his nemesis Jose Mourinho.
Arsenal started the match on the front foot against a Chelsea side playing without a recognised striker.
Alexis Sanchez’s pass found Olivier Giroud with his back to goal and the striker juggled the ball, trying to set up a volley, but it eventually ran through harmlessly into the hands of Thibaut Courtois.
Cesc Fabregas was booked for going down easily to Santi Cazorla’s half-hearted challenge with an exaggerated stumble inside the box.
Fabregas was booed by home fans during the match on his first return to the Emirates since departing for Barcelona four years ago, but was applauded when substituted late on.
David Ospina denied Ramires at close range, while Sanchez and Mesut Ozil went close for Arsenal, but ultimately the main talking points of the first half were penalty appeals at either end – both flatly refused by referee Michael Oliver.
First a Fabregas ball split the Gunners defence and Oscar took advantage to lob Ospina, with the keeper blocking him as the ball bounced towards goal and Hector Bellerin managed to head it behind for a corner.
Bellerin was also involved in the second incident, turning Sanchez’s pass back for Cazorla, whose shot was blocked by the upraised arm of Gary Cahill.
Chelsea sent on Didier Drogba at the start of the second half, but there were few goal scoring opportunities for either side.
Willian’s lay-off midway through the half gave Drogba a sight of goal, but he shot straight at Ospina, whilst another Drogba effort was deflected behind for a corner.
Per Mertesacker had a chance to give Arsenal the lead, but he was unable to capitalise on Courtois’ weak punch at a free-kick, sending his shot wide.
Cazorla also sent a shot wide of Courtois’ and the post.
Arsene Wenger sent on Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott in the final quarter of an hour, in a final attempt to break the deadlock.
The closest the Gunners came was when Nacho Monreal broke in injury time to deliver a cross that both Ozil and Welbeck failed to connect with the ball.
Chelsea’s players and fans celebrated at the final whistle, as the point moves them to within touching distance of the title.
For Arsenal it was another failure to claim a home victory over a top four rival.
The Gunners had previously drawn with Manchester City and lost to Manchester United.
Arsenal: Ospina 7; Bellerin 7, Mertesacker 7, Koscielny 8, Monreal 7; Cazorla 6, Coquelin 7 (Welbeck 77); Ramsey 6, Ozil 7, Sanchez 7; Giroud 6 (Walcott 84).