It is consecutive London derby draws in the league for Chelsea who earned this point with a much-changed side.
For the second game running our opponents hit woodwork twice in the game and had the better chances. Good approach work by Chelsea was too often let down by inaccurate passing in the final third.Cold analysis will say this is a better point for Arsenal but a healthy unbeaten run continues for the Blues who were on top for spells and showed some committed defending.
There were eight changes to the side that began against Barcelona. At the back Jose Bosingwareplaced suspended Branislav Ivanovic and Ryan Bertrand was handed his third Premier League start.
Michael Essien, Oriol Romeu and Florent Malouda came into midfield, the Spaniard making his first start since January, and flanking Fernando Torres up front were Daniel Sturridge andSalomon Kalou.
Following on from their home defeat against Wigan, Arsenal made changes too with Laurent Koscielny and Kieran Gibbs in for Johan Djourou and Andre Santos at the back. Aaron Ramsey replaced injured Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came in for ineligible Yossi Benayoun.
There was no great tempo to the game early on and the first shot was just before the five-minute mark, from Tomas Rosicky - low and bobbling but straight at Cech.
A minute later Romeu picked up the ball and slid a pass forward for Kalou to run onto. Song had a bite at the Chelsea striker inside the area, a possible foul, but Kalou stumbled on with the ball running away out of play. Kalou’s next contribution was a good-looking cross toward Torres who had strayed a yard offside.
On 13 minutes Essien conceded a free-kick in a dangerous position for a foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain and from it, Walcott curled a ball towards a crowd at the back post where Van Persie side-footed it against the post.
Chelsea had survived our first real scare but were enjoying far more of the attacking play than on Wednesday night against Barcelona. We might have made more of a Cech-initiated counter-attack had Torres spotted an unmarked Malouda.
Vermaelen tested the state of Terry’s ribs with an off-the-ball barge as Cech collected a high ball but was only spoken to by the ref before midway through the half, Chelsea won consecutive corners. From the second, after a Torres shot had been blocked, Cahill sliced a difficult chance high over the bar.
A theme of the half was the problems Chelsea were causing Arsenal with quick balls forward. Bosingwa had set Sturridge on the attack with one and then on 26 minutes, Kalou turned past his marker and chased Malouda’s pass. He beat Szczesny to the ball but his touch past the keeper was not strong enough and a very promising attack fizzled out.
Rosicky was the first player booked, for slicing down Essien from behind in the middle of the park and approaching half-time, Chelsea were clearly the more promising side.
Arsenal mistakes were increasingly met by rumblings of discontent from the home support, however when Bertrand attacking on the overlap was shouldered off the ball by Sagna, Arsenal launched a rapid counter-attack with Rosicky out-running Romeu. It needed a well-positionedJohn Terry to cut out a Walcott cross at the expense of a corner.
On 41 minutes and from a Gunners free-kick, they hit woodwork for a second time. Something went very wrong in the Chelsea rearguard to leave Koscielny all alone and there was great relief when the defender’s header bounced back off the bar.
Arsenal finished the half strongly, with Cech making a near-post save from a Van Persie volley.
Malouda was booked for a 48th minute foul on Van Persie just inside the Chelsea half, but Arsenal’s Dutchman followed into the book only a minute later for taking down Essien.
The pattern of the second half followed that of the first and had Chelsea been more precise with our passes in the final third of the pitch we would surely have tested Szczesny more. Torres missed a golden chance to play Sturridge clean through on goal
Cahill entered the ref’s notebook after a challenge on Oxlade-Chamberlain and can count himself unfortunate before it was Van Persie’s turn to not make the most of an attack after a Rosicky pass had given a yard advantage over the Chelsea defence. His run was held up well by Cahill.
Sturridge had one deflected shot saved and hit another strike straight at the keeper. In between, Van Persie volleyed over at the other end. As in the first-half, Chelsea were trying to feed off half-chances while home side’s opportunities were more clear cut.
Arsenal worked the ball quickly across the Chelsea area but Bertrand did well to block a shot from Diaby, a substitute for hamstrung Walcott.
Bosingwa was a 72nd minute booking for a tug on another substitute, Santos, and before long Diaby was cautioned. All three Arsenal bookings were for fouls on Essien.
Mata and Cole were introduced for the closing stages in place of Kalou and Bertrand and Cole was soon in the book for impeding Song. The home support finally had something to cheer about.
Arsenal wanted a penalty for what they claimed was a push by Cahill on Van Persie but nothing was given and then on 83 minutes, after Terry had not been able to cut out a pass to Van Persie, the Gunners centre-forward hooked his shot wide.
It was not the league leading scorer’s day and with four minutes to play he twisted and turned inside the Chelsea area, putting defenders on their backsides, but still saw his shot deflected wide .
As Arsenal pressed for a late winner, Mikel, almost an extra centre-back, made two vital blocks and the stalemate was ensured. A repeat of this scoreline on Tuesday and no-one supporting Chelsea will be complaining.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Cahill, Terry (c) Bertrand (Cole 76); Essien, Romeu (Mikel 65) Malouda; Sturridge, Torres, Kalou (Mata 73).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Meireles, Lampard.
Booked Malouda 48, Cahill 53, Bosingwa 71, Cole 80.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs; Ramsey, Song; Walcott (Gervinho 60), Rosicky (Diaby 64), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Santos 69); Van Persie (c)
Unused subs Fabianski, Djourou, Coquelin, Chamakh.
Booked Rosicky 29, Van Persie 49, Diaby 75.
Referee Mike Dean.