Arsenal and Manchester City shared the spoils in a hard fought 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium that saw both sides fail to make real ground in a bid to fulfil their respective ambitions.
With the Gunners having suffered three defeats in succession, cementing third place has suddenly become a priority.
Manchester City will have been buoyed by city rivals Manchester United's 3-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day and would have been looking for a win against the Gunners to take maximum advantage.
Former Gunners Patrick Vieira and Kolo Toure started the game, but Emmanuel Adeboayor was relegated to the bench suffering from an apparent thigh strain.
The boos will no doubt echo loudly as soon as he rises to commence a warm up.
Arsenal enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the first half, but Shay Given was rarely tested and at the other end Lukasz Fabianski was a virtual spectator.
Arsenal had five attempts at goal, all but one off target, City had none.
It was not until the 39th minute that Given was forced into a save, a fierce shot from an acute angle on the left flank that Samir Nasri drove straight into the Irishman's chest at the near post.
The Citizens' Adebayor, who began warming up on the sidelines, received a chorus of boos immediately after half time.
A god run on the left from Nasri saw him shrug off the challenge of Micah Richards to send a cross in for Robin Van Persie who headed just over.
Seven minutes into the second half, Adebayor was on for Vieira who was cheered off as the Tongolese striker was booed into the action.
An intense technical game, suddenly became a very heated one.
Referee Mike Dean warned Craig Bellamy and Alex Song and both captains were called together in an attempt to calm matters down.
Adebayor certainly gave Manchester City an added urgency, but Fabianski remained untested.
Arsenae Wenger switched to 4-4-2 when Bendtner took to the stage in the 69th minutes as did Emmanuel Eboue, with Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott going off.
Abou Diaby went close in the 70th minute with a shot from just outside the area that Given parried for a corner. In making the save the City 'keeper damaged his shoulder and has to be replaced by Gunnar Nielsen.
Van Persie was inches away from breaking the deadlock when his freekick shaved the outside of the angle of the goal with the substitute 'keeper well beaten.
Manchester City's first shot on target came four minutes from the end of regular time.
However, a tame strike from Carlos Tevez was easily gathered by Fabianski.
A second effort followed for the visitors within a minute, a toe poke from Bellamy that the Arsenal 'keeper claimed with relative ease again.
Eight minutes of added time followed, largely as a consequence of the injury to Given.
Arsenal continued to press forward but City defended resiliently and the spoils were shared at the end.