Newly promoted Middlesbrough who are fourth in the bottom table gave the highly flying Arsenal a tough nut to crack as the game ended in goalless draw at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners now sits top of the Premier League but a win could have guaranteed them a stable as there was little else to celebrate for Manager Arsene Wenger on his 67th birthday.
Meanwhile, Boro are now winless since beating north-east rivals Sunderland in August. But the newcomers did posed most of the treat as they pulled out incredible saves from Petr Cech through hit the angle of post and crossbar with a brilliant free-kick.
The Gunners who were without injured playmaker, Santi Cazorla and the suspended Granit Xhaka in the midfield were fitful in attack and Victor Valdes’ best save in the Boro goal came as he athletically thwarted Alexis Sanchez strike from distance.
Theo Walcott who had now scored for the seventh time in six matches in the 6-0 Champions League demolition of Ludogorets on Wednesday fell well short of those standards and midweek hat-trick hero Mesut Ozil had a goal correctly ruled out for offside in stoppage time.
Aitor Karanka’s fourth-bottom side once again proved a tough nut to crack on their travels – six of their seven points this season have now come away from the Riverside Stadium.
Arsenal now sit top of the EPL with 20 points, a point behind Manchester City who have a game to play.