Chelsea and Arsenal both left Stamford Bridge feeling frustrated after playing out a 0-0 draw in a game of missed opportunities.
David Luiz saw red in the closing moments, providing the only real talking point in a lethargic second half.
The match started brightly enough, with Chelsea taking control in the opening stages thanks to Willian’s energetic enthusiasm. Cesc Fabregas provided Pedro with a chance to put the home side in front, but ex-Blues keeper Petr Cech was in a position to deny the Spaniard in a one-on-one duel.
Arsenal have first half’s best chances
The Gunners grew into the first half, strangling authority away from Chelsea and leading to what looked like unmissable opportunities. Sead Kolasinac and Granit Xhaka tried to make a dent in the scoreline with long-range efforts, with Thibaut Courtois denying Kolasinac before Xhaka whistled one past the woodwork.
Aaron Ramsey almost had the magic as he hit the post, leaving Alexandre Lacazette the best chance of the game. The French striker, who signed for Arsenal this summer, missed the chance to endear himself to the away support by unforgivably firing over from close range.
The second half never inspired onlookers, with both squads possibly feeling the effects of midweek European encounters. Tiemoue Bakayoko replaced Pedro at the break as Chelsea looked to protect important squad members, and Willian again tried his best to excite the home fans early in the half, calling Cech into action.
Danny Welbeck also withdrew in the second half due to injury worries but Olivier Giroud became another player struggling to impact the score. Shkodran Mustafi did finally have the ball in the back of the net, only to be flagged offside from a Xhaka free kick.
Talismanic forwards Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez entered the equation from the bench but never brought any spark to the encounter.
The 87th minute came alive as David Luiz received his first ever Premier League red card for a high tackle on Kolasinac, the third Chelsea red card in three matches against Arsenal.
Questions for both managers
Chelsea’s defensive struggles continue this season, having only just got Gary Cahill back from suspension thanks to an opening day dismissal against Burnley.
Antonio Conte’s poor run of results against Arsene Wenger continues after tasting defeat in the FA Cup and Community Shield finals. The draw leaves them trailing Manchester City by three points at the top of the table, with Pep Guardiola overseeing a 6-0 domination over Watford on Saturday.
Arsenal will be left feeling equally disappointed after exerting enough pressure on the home side to warrant a goal. They continue to feel the pressure, only collecting two wins from their first five league games; the Chelsea fans made their own entertainment, asking “Where were you on Thursday night?” – a reference to the Gunners’ Europa League status this term.
Frequent encounters between Wenger and Conte has left an intriguing balance between the two sides, with neither manager being able to gain the upper hand over the past year. Chelsea will be a little miffed at losing a five-match winning streak at Stamford Bridge over Arsenal.