Alex Song was omniscient in the match's biggest moment. Scoring a goal an eternity in the making. The Cameroonian provides a talking point with being too venturesome but who can quibble now? He used his body equally well to shield the ball from prying legs at the opposite end.
Fortress Green and the structural composition of goal kept the ball out for the most agonizing match of the season as the Gunners poured it on in the second half. You could see Arsene Wenger's brows furrowing with each passing moment. A draw after such a draining match is not the result a manager needs with Chelsea rampant and the league resembling a game of snake and ladders on crack.
It was supposed to be the other clinical finisher slated to score and he almost pulled it off with a finely sliced shot which hit the upright. Walcott has been lethal in front of goal but Lady Luck continued to smile for the Hammers.
Walcott is not the only improved player - we were given a reminder of Clichy's maturation providing the assist that Song threw his head onto in the 87th minute. The much vilified left back chose to cut in buying time for more bodies to arrive for a crack at goal. A year ago, Clichy would have floated a rushed cross to no one. Obviously, having Kieran Gibbs competing for his spot has something to do with this learning curve.
There is also a feeling of calm at the back and that is because Lukasz Fabianski has asserted himself. The Polish goalkeeper was animated and decisive - at one point pulling on Fabregas jersey to position the Arsenal captain during a corner which was successfully turned away. Make no mistake this was a real test for Fabianski as the Hammers score regularly through set pieces but he was equal to the task.
The visitors had their moments with Mark Noble and Scott Parker releasing some neat passes and looking threatening on their free kicks.The first half ended deadlocked with Robert Green making some lovely saves against Fabregas and Samir Nasri. At the other end Manuel Da Costa was effective in neutralizing Marouane Chamakh. The Arsenal striker's noted aerial touch seems to be wayward as of late.
Fabregas had some deft moments but was far from assured on the ball. What is more evident is Nasri's influence on Arsenal's midfield - he is becoming an equal partner in creation with a better scoring touch from all vantage points. A blinding free kick almost got the better of Green. Arshavin continues to be a bipolar presence vacillating from brooding boredom to sudden solo bursts where he can open up the game with his first touch. But more often he continues to be forced outside where he is less of a threat.
Chelsea lead by five points and a massive goal differential but the Gunners and Man Utd are keeping it close. Nipping at their heels City, Spurs, and the ever surprising Baggies who have a very good chance of climbing to the top four against Blackpool on Monday.