Newcastle United frustrated Premier League leaders Arsenal to earn a point with a dogged display at Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal were hoping to extend their lead at the top of the table to 10 points but found themselves drawn into an attritional and dogged encounter by a Newcastle Untied side with top four ambitions of their own.
Chances were at a premium and Newcastle’s Joelinton arguably wasted the best of all when he headed wide with the goal at his mercy in first-half stoppage time.
Arsenal went close through defender Gabriel and forward Gabriel Martinelli, who both sent headers narrowly off target, while Newcastle keeper Nick Pope made a crucial late save with his legs from Eddie Nketiah.
The game descended into a scrappy affair with seven yellow cards and the deadlock remained unbroken, with Arsenal’s lead now eight points despite being held at home.
It may only be early January but Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s frantic touchline behaviour perhaps gave an insight into the growing expectations surrounding the Gunners after their superb season so far.
Arteta was on the edge of his technical area for so much of the night right until the end, confronting fourth official Jarred Gillett when only five minutes were added on at the end then moving towards opposite number Eddie Howe after late penalty appeals were rejected before being ushered away.
It certainly did not give off an air of calm when one was needed as Newcastle’s determined defensive approach and desire to drag Arsenal into a dogfight led to frustration all round.
When Arteta calms down he can still assess a job being well done but this was a night when his Arsenal team ran into a formidable barrier in the shape of Newcastle, their work deteriorating after a bright start, although they still nearly snatched it at the end through Nketiah.
Arsenal still have that eight-point lead, although Manchester City have a game in hand.
It was never going to be all plain sailing for the Gunners and this was one of those occasions, the demeanour of Arteta reflecting what Newcastle will regard as a highly satisfactory outcome.