Arsenal 0-0 Chelsea

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Arsenal deserved to score - Wenger

Arsenal failed to reclaim top spot in the Premier League as they played out a dreadful stalemate with Chelsea at Emirates Stadium.

The result means Liverpool will top the table at Christmas - ahead of the Gunners on goal difference - as two teams with title pretensions of their own produced a spectacle almost devoid of entertainment and quality.

Frank Lampard came closest to breaking the deadlock when he hit the woodwork in the first half, while Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud wasted two good opportunities late on to claim the win that would have seen the Gunners leapfrog Liverpool.

Instead, referee Mike Dean's final whistle produced a chorus of boos and chants of "boring boring Chelsea" from Arsenal fans frustrated at their team's failure to lay a glove on Jose Mourinho's team.

There were some moments to debate in a match that was a niggly, messy affair played out in dreadful conditions, although arguably the biggest news of the night came further up the Seven Sisters Road where Tottenham named Tim Sherwood as Andre Villas-Boas's full-time successor.

John Mikel Obi could easily have seen a red card for a shocking first-half challenge on Mikel Arteta that went unpunished by referee Dean and Arsenal were convinced they should have had a penalty when Theo Walcott tumbled after Willian stepped on his foot just before the interval.

An undistinguished first half finally burst into life when Lampard found space on the end of Eden Hazard's clever flicked pass but saw his powerful effort bounce off the underside of the bar to safety.

The second half, if it was actually possible, opened in even more scrappy fashion and Arteta was the victim of another poor challenge from Ramires, which finally persuaded Dean to show Chelsea's midfielder a yellow card.

Olivier Giroud, who missed two late chances to earn victory for Arsenal, has not scored since his brace against Southampton on 23 November
Olivier Giroud, who missed two late chances to earn victory for Arsenal, has not scored since his brace against Southampton on 23 November

Mourinho made his first change with 17 minutes left, somewhat surprisingly choosing to replace Hazard with Andre Schurrle, who was soon followed into the action by Oscar, on for fellow Brazilian Willian.

As a tortuous evening entered its final 10 minutes, Arsenal finally created a chance when Aaron Ramsey found Giroud with time and space but he sent a hopeless angled finish into the side-netting.

The France striker was then played in again at the near post by Kieran Gibbs but he was blocked by a combination of Chelsea keeper Petr Cech and his defenders.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger declined to make any changes when the game appeared to be crying out for the invention of Spanish playmaker Santi Cazorla - resulting in a draw that was unfulfilling for both teams.

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