In Arsenal's first home clean sheet since July 2020, the Gunners were unable to take apart a defensively strong Crystal Palace, with both teams sharing the points after 90 minutes.
A lacklustre Arsenal failed to produce the same spark and creativity that we have seen in recent results. Mikel Arteta made two defensive changes to his side since their last 4-0 league victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and David Luiz replaced the in-form Kieran Tierney and Pablo Mari.
The importance of Kieran Tierney
Arsenal's Scotsman, 'KT' as he is commonly known, has been a key aspect to Arteta's success in recent weeks.
His determination and drive when attacking, as well as being defensively solid, has stood out to the fans, displaying the characteristics and abilities of a future Arsenal captain.
The impressive fullback has created an astounding 20 chances in the league this season, with only Andy Robertson and João Cancelo producing more.
However, his chances creation, as well as his pure grit and passion, was surely missed as the Gunners failed to create a significant chance to gain three points from Palace.
Transfer doubt, Maitland-Niles, replaced Tierney last night due to muscle tightness, with his performance described by former Gunner Alex Scott as 'off the pace'.
The Englishman did not present himself well as he looked to prove a point to Arsenal and interested clubs. The defender lost possession 13 times over the course of the game in a disappointing return to Arteta's first team.
The youth graduate, now 23 years old, also misplaced six of his 17 passes within the opening 20 minutes, setting the tone and leaving his confidence at a low for the rest of the match.
The positivity and thrust that 'KT' usually provides to his forward partners was absent, as Maitland-Niles was continuously sloppy, failing to reach the heights of his teammate.
Tierney's Spanish partner, Hector Bellerin, expressed the importance of the Scotsman, as well as praising the struggling Maitland-Niles:
"Kieran was enjoying very good form and we did miss that probably on the left side, but we have very talented players in many areas that can come in.
"Ainsley did a great job again filling in, such a versatile player."
Tierney's muscle issue is being checked via an MRI scan ahead of Newcastle United on Monday night. It is important for Arsenal's attack and defence that 'KT' returns swiftly and smoothly, so that Arteta's side can return to winning ways.
Thomas Partey returns
After a long wait, Arsenal's Ghanaian returned to the field last night against the Eagles.
When rushed back from injury in December, Thomas Partey hobbled off in the North London derby due to a muscle strain, which has left him out of the first team.
Since then, Gooners have been desperate to see their new midfield signing in action to display the attributes that Arsenal's midfield so desperately needs.
Partey was substituted on in the 69th minute, with too little to display what the Ghanaian is really made of. However, he did perform strongly within the time he had on the pitch.
Within 20 minutes of playing time, Partey made four tackles, with only Granit Xhaka making more in 90 minutes.
Arteta was pleased with Partey's comeback, with the midfielder looking physically positive:
"Now we have the reassurance that he can compete. He did it for 25, 30 minutes. He did it well, he didn't feel anything so now we're going to be looking for the next step."
It is important that we have Partey back and that he is gaining valuable minutes. With just over half of the season left to go, the midfielder has the opportunity to present his worth and talent, looking forward to next season.
Bernd Leno continues to perform
Arsenal's flying German saved the Gunners from defeat once again last night, with a continuation of his impressive form.
Bernd Leno has been one of Arteta's most consistent performers this season, saving his side from despair time after time.
The German international has kept six clean sheets this season, fourth-best in the league. The goalkeeper continued his outstanding performances from his heroic FA Cup display against Newcastle.
A sublime header from Christian Benteke forced a marvellous save from Leno, tipping it past the post. It could easily have been 1-0 to Palace, but Arsenal's no. 1 denied him.
Bellerin expressed the importance of the German goalkeeper to the BBC:
"Bernd Leno is a great goalkeeper and he shows that every single game. We are happy with a clean sheet – in that sense we are improving."
A very poor performance from an uncreative Arsenal was saved by the world-class Leno. It is clear that he is a valuable member of this evolving Arsenal team, continuing to display his worth.