Arsenal avoided slipping to fourth, but missed a chance to go top against Chelsea when they drew 0-0 at The Emirates.
With the game progressing, Arsenal ignored the talented cast of their substitutes to stick with the 11 they started with.
This included potential game changers Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and even Mathieu Flamini who could have provided more solidity for more attacking players to push forward and looked for the win.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho made three changes as he kept up his unbeaten record against Arsene Wenger.
Quizzed after the game, the Frenchman explained his decision to keep with his starting line-up, and not make any changes, revealing he was too worried about allowing Chelsea a greater foothold into the game.
"Nothing I could change because we had all the players, we had a good balance, I felt we had enough power there to take advantage of opportunities and win it without destablising our defensive balance.
"Sometimes when you come on like that, positional play it takes time to adjust. (We) didn't want to lose the game, and to win it of course."
The cautious approach paid off in the respect that Arsenal did not lose, and heading into the festive break level on points at the top of the table is a position to be proud of.
However come the end of the season Wenger may come to regret not being bolder in situations like these.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald