Arsenal missed the chance of moving into the top half of the Premier League as Mikel Arteta's side were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium.
Having won their last four in all competitions, Arsenal had the opportunity of climbing as high as eighth.
But without the energy of full-back Kieran Tierney - missing with muscle tightness - the hosts were slow and predictable in their approach play, never really troubling Palace, who extended their unbeaten run to three.
Emotional Saka welcomed back to Arsenal with wall of supportive letters
Palace created the better chances in the first half, with James Tomkins going closest to breaking the deadlock when his header crashed off the crossbar from Eberechi Eze's delivery. Arsenal then had Bernd Leno to thank for keeping the scores level as he made a strong one-handed save to keep out Christian Benteke's glancing header.
Arsenal had conjured up half chances in the first period without really testing Vincente Guaita in the Palace goal and despite dominating the ball it was a similar story after the restart.
Alexandre Lacazette went closest but hit the side-netting before the offside flag went up, and even the introduction of 70th-minute substitute Thomas Partey - returning after a thigh problem - failed to spark an improvement.
The draw leaves Arsenal 11th in the table, a point ahead of Crystal Palace in 13th.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal controls the ball
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - Lack of spark proves frustrating for Arteta
A win would have taken Arsenal to within four points of the top six, and Arteta undoubtedly will see this as an opportunity missed. Lacking was the energy and invention so evident in Arsenal's last three league games.
Palace must take credit for an impressive performance as they battled to a first clean sheet on the road since June, but this was a really flat showing from the Gunners, who clearly missed the presence of the tireless Tierney at full-back. Arteta has looked to his youngsters for that spark and creativity going forward recently, but with inexperience comes inconsistency. This was another reminder to the Arsenal board that investment is required.
Roy Hodgson had a plan and his side executed it to a tee. The 73-year-old has had Arsenal's number for sometime - it's now five games without a victory for Arsenal against Palace.
MAN OF THE MATCH - James Tomkins (Crystal Palace)
Led by Tomkins, the Palace defence was excellent. Interceptions, blocks and headed clearances, the 31-year-old was everywhere across the back line - and he almost scored the winner at the opposite end.
Arsenal: Leno 7, Bellerin 7, Holding 6, Luiz 6, Maitland-Niles 5, Ceballos 7, Xhaka 6, Saka 6, Smith-Rowe 6, Aubameyang 6, Lacazette 6. Subs: Partey 5, Pepe 5, Nketiah N/A.
Crystal Palace: Guaita 7, Ward 7, Tomkins 8, Kouyate 7, Mitchell 6, Townsend 6, McArthur 7, Milivojevic 7, Eze 8, Benteke 5, Zaha 7. Subs: Ayew N/A, McCarthy N/A.
39' - Palace hit the crossbar! Eze's delivery is excellent, finding Tomkins whose header is going in! No, it's not... it cannons off the top of the bar! Palace keep it alive, but Benteke blazes over the bar. It hasn't been his day so far. His shooting has been wild.
42' - Brilliant save! Leno keeps the scores level with a strong one-handed save to keep out Benteke's glancing header!
- Arsenal kept their first home clean sheet in the Premier League since July (12 games), whilst Crystal Palace recorded their first on the road since June (13 games), with this the first goalless draw in the top-flight between the sides since October 1997.
- In all competitions, Crystal Palace have registered just five wins in 48 previous matches against Arsenal (D15 L28), though they are now unbeaten in their last three at the Emirates (W1 D2).
Chelsea make improved offer in 'big push' for Lukaku, Kane latest, Arsenal step up Martinez bid
Partey to have scan after injury against Chelsea