Sunderland was thankful to Simon Mignolet at the Emirates Stadium, with the Belgian goalkeeper producing an inspired display to keep second-place Arsenal at bay in a one-sided match.
The League leaders Manchester United, who have played the same number of games as the Gunners, can move six points clear at the top if they beat Liverpool away tomorrow.
In-form West Ham eased past Stoke 3-0 to climb out of the bottom three, replaced by Birmingham which lost 3-1 at home to relegation rival West Brom.
In the other games, Bolton and Fulham both scored late goals to clinch 3-2 wins over Aston Villa and Blackburn respectively, and Everton rallied to defeat Newcastle 2-1 away.
Substitute Marouane Chamakh's close-range header against the crossbar was the closest Arsenal came to breaking the deadlock on a day of frustration for the London team, which will now travel to Spain ahead of the second leg of its Champions League last-16 match with Barcelona.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be thankful his stretched squad sustained no more injuries, with Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie among the players already out, but will be concerned his side wasted the chance to apply heavy pressure on United.
Mignolet defied Nicklas Bendtner with a superb tip over the bar at the end of the first half, while Samir Nasri saw Mignolet deny him three times to somehow keep the score level.
However, Andrey Arshavin should have been given a penalty after being pushed by Titus Bramble as he shaped to shoot, and then had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside.
Wenger admitted it was the last thing his injury-hit and battle-weary squad had needed following the surprise Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham City at Wembley Stadium last Sunday. “I am too disgusted to speak about these things,” the Arsenal manager told BBC Sport.
“What can you say? We put a lot of commitment into the game. I believe Arshavin was not offside, but what can you do? These kind of things have too big an impact on the Premier League and we are really disappointed but we have to take it on the chin for the next game, but we feel really justice has not been done today and it is not the first time.”
“I am very happy with the performance. Defensively we were very good and gave a lot physically, and I cannot fault the players’ attitude."