Arsenal’s Premier League title dream suffered a huge setback as they were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Blackburn Rovers.
Theo Walcott forced a decent save from Paul Robinson as the Gunners dominated proceedings, and the Rovers goalkeeper then had to be alert to prevent Ryan Nelsen from putting the ball into his own net.
Samir Nasri headed over as it looked to be only a matter of time before the hosts broke the deadlock, but they almost conceded against the run of play when Manuel Almunia almost spilled a speculative shot from Martin Olsson into his own net.
The Spaniard then made a mess of a long punt forward by Robinson, but his blushes were spared as Steven Nzonzi’s header crept wide of the upright with the goal at his mercy.
Jack Wilshere wastefully shot wide after being fed by Samir Nasri, and Laurent Koscielny’s header then brought a decent save from Robinson as Arsenal’s frustration grew.
The Gunners were given a lift when Nzonzi was dismissed for a stud-raised challenge on Koscielny, but they could not find a winner as Olsson denied Marouane Chamakh and Michel Salgado blocked a Nicklas Bendtner shot on the line
The draw means second-placed Arsenal now trail league leaders Manchester United by seven points.