This was billed as the game to save the Premiership. Ninety minutes of attacking football that would fly in the face of the stale fare the English top-flight has been serving up this season. In truth, it was never that. But, as goalless draws go, it was passionate and enthralling stuff.
Both teams will claim they deserved the points. Yossi Benayoun spurned a couple of chances for Alan Pardew's side while Jose Antonio Reyes did likewise for Arsène Wenger's men. A draw was just about fair.
- Silva 71
- Reyes 73
- van Persie 82
- Clichy 82
- Flamini 71
- Owusu-Abeyie 73
West Ham United
- Repka Yellow Card
- Etherington 84
- Sheringham 81 Yellow Card
- Newton 84
- Zamora 81
At least Arsenal got a result away from home for the first time this season and stretched their unbeaten run to three games. That will be welcome ahead of Tuesday's trip to Ajax in the Champions League.
Thierry Henry (groin) is still a month away from fitness and this afternoon the leading scorer was joined on the sidelines by Dennis Bergkamp (groin/back), Robert Pires (thigh) and Philippe Senderos (back)..
Arsenal were the first to show. In the eighth minute, Ljungberg got to the byline and cut the ball back for Robin van Persie to fire low towards the far corner. West Ham keeper Roy Carroll dived low to his right to smother the chance.
However the home side have started this season with confidence and not surprisingly they responded. They had two main outlets - Benayoun's trickery on the right and Teddy Sheringham's telling passes from deep-lying positions.
The former England striker nearly put West Ham ahead in the 12th minute after Matthew Etherington was fouled on the just outside the area. His free-kick flew a few feet wide with Jens Lehmann rooted to the spot.
Alan Pardew's outfit remained a threat but, as the half wore on, Arsenal to hit their groove. In the 19th minute Alexander Hleb's fast feet and even quicker brain sent Francesc Fabregas through on the left of the area. Unfortunately the Spaniard slashed the ball horribly over the bar. Then, on the half hour, Reyes had little option but the let fly from a standing start just outside the area. His curling effort rippled the side netting.
West Ham got stronger as the half time approached. Sheringham flashed a shot wide from the edge of the area and then set up Benayoun. The Israeli got a fortunate bounce as he jumped with Ashley Cole. He should have done better than lamely flicking out a shot as the ball sat up for him on the edge of the six-yard box.
Arsenal carved out arguably their best chance of the half in injury time. Reyes broke forward at pace and, when he reached the edge of the area, squared for Van Persie. The Dutchman met the ball with a fierce sidefoot shot but he lifted the ball over the bar.
West Ham started the second half on top. A couple of minutes in, Lehmann punched a corner to the unmarked Benayoun on the edge of the area but, again, the midfielder's shot was poor and the keeper managed plucked the lobbed effort out of the air.
The German stayed in the limelight. A few minutes later he rushed out to dispossess Harewood and ended up handling the ball. Fortunately referee Mike Dean had already blown for a foul.
In the 53rd, the home side claimed Sol Campbell handled in the box but their appeals full on deaf ears.
By that time, Arsenal had wrestled the initiative from West Ham. They looked strong on the break, particularly through Reyes. But in the last 10 minutes, Wenger had withdrawn the Spaniard and his partner Robin van Persie leaving substitute Quincy to be joined up front by Ljungberg.
The Swede nearly won the game with five minutes left but miscontrolled the ball as he burst through. That chance only came after Bobby Zamora had miscued a header at the far post following Etherington's perceptive cross from the left.
Lehmann punched clear from a dangerous Benayoun free-kick in the final minute of normal time. Ljungberg then found some space but fired wide.
Despite the lack of goals the Premiership's entertainers had lived-up to their billing.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 29 Dec 2005