Arsenal has squandered an opportunity to return to the Premier League summit after drawing 0-0 with Manchester United in an attritional game at the Emirates Stadium.
Both teams had suffered damaging results at the weekend, Arsenal crashing 5-1 at Liverpool and United drawing 2-2 at home to bottom club Fulham, and the tentativeness on either side made for a game of only sporadic excitement.
Robin van Persie came closest to scoring for United, spurning an excellent early chance and later hitting the crossbar with a header, while Arsenal centre-back Laurent Koscielny had a header cleared of the line on Wednesday.
Arsenal would have gone top with victory, but the draw left Arsene Wenger’s side a point behind Chelsea in second place.
For United it was another missed opportunity to make up ground on the teams in the Champions League places, ahead of a mid-season trip to Dubai where they will gird their loins for a high-stakes run-in.
Elsewhere, Liverpool and Tottenham stayed in fourth and fifth place respectively after both posted wins.
Tottenham made light work of Newcastle United at St James’ Park, with Emmanuel Adebayor scoring a brace in a 4-0 win.
Liverpool, meanwhile, needed late goals from Philippe Coutinho and Steven Gerrard to salvage a 3-2 victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Trailing 2-1 when Kieran Richardson netted for the hosts just after the hour mark, Liverpool levelled when Coutinho burst into space and fired past Martin Stekelenburg.
Just when it looked as though the points would have to be shared, Sacha Riether fouled Daniel Sturridge in the box, with Steven Gerrard converting the resulting penalty in the 91st minute.
Stoke played out a 1-1 draw with Sunderland in the day’s other match.
Meanwhile, severe wind and rain affecting the north-west of England saw the Premier League games at Manchester City and Everton both postponed.
Title contenders City were set to face Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium while, in nearby Liverpool, Everton were due to play Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.
But both matches were called off shortly before they were each due to start at 7.45pm local time as conditions deteriorated.