Arsenal's chances of winning the Premier League have slipped even further out of sight following a goalless draw against 10-men Blackburn Rovers.
Arsene Wenger's side are now seven points adrift of Manchester United in second place and even if Arsenal win their game in hand and beat Sir Alex Ferguson's men at the Emirates next month, they still require the league leaders to drop points in their remaining fixtures.
Wenger had previously expressed his concern over his side's state of mind after their exit from the FA Cup and the Champions League, as well as a shock Carling Cup final defeat. Another stumble in the title race tips the balance further towards Old Trafford and the Frenchman now has to rely on other teams to upset United.
As ever, Arsenal saw most of the ball and after Steven N'Zonzi was sent off for the visitors in the second half, Wenger's men had the opportunity to turn their possession into a tangible reward, but a series of toothless attacks saw the hosts stifled in front of goal.Arseal started the game brightly but their first clear-cut chance came after half an hour when Jack Wilshere was presented with an opportunity seven yards from goal but the midfielder failed to fully anticipate the ball and his effort went wide.
Manuel Almunia was called into action next following Martin Olsson's deflected long-range shot, and the Spaniard was able to tip the ball round the post, albeit in an uncouth fashion.
Blackburn might have been able to take the lead just before half-time after a free-kick was lofted into the Arsenal. N'Zonzi was able to meet the ball despite a rapidly approaching Almunia but his header dropped just inches wide of the post.
Cutting edge | Wilshere looks on after spurning a first-half chance
An early Arsenal chance in the first couple of minutes of the restart was all that was on offer to the fans at the Emirates, as the second-half struggled to meet expectations after the energetic performances of both sides in the initial 45-minutes.
Robin van Persie spurned another decent opportunity after being played in by Samir Nasri, but Paul Robinson was equal to the well-struck shot in the Rivers goal.
Arsenal were given a player advantage following the sending off of N'Zonzi after the midfielder lunged in on Wilshere with both feet raised.
As the tempo lifted, substitute Maroune Chamakh spurned another chance 12 yards out as he failed to guide his shot past the sprawling Nelsen.Pressure continued but chances became rare for Arsenal and Chamakh's header was blocked in the final stages by Michel Salgado, leaving Wenger's side cursing their lack of conviction in front of goal.
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