Solskjaer’s Manchester United wasted so many chances to keep the pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table and fell further behind their rioting neighbours so that there is now a three-point gap between them.
And Arsenal saw took the opportunity to draw level with Spurs and advance on the Champions League place fall behind.
It was a stressful game and in some ways, for both sides, it must have felt like old times.
Arsenal, sparked into life by a 3-1 victory over Chelsea at The Emirates on Boxing Day that probably saved Arteta’s job, had won five of their last six league games before yesterday and came desperately close to retaining their speed when a second-half free-kick from Alexandre Lacazette cannoned off the bottom of the United crossbar.
But United, who were trying to bounce back from their shock home defeat to Sheffield United last Wednesday had their share of chances, too. Neither side deserved to win but United may feel marginally more disconsolate.
The last four days have seen their heady dreams of a challenge for the title take a sobering reality check.
Arsenal supporters were dealt a blow before kick-off when the starting lineups were revealed that not only was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang still absent because of his mother’s illness but also Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s remarkable performer in recent games, nor Kieran Tierney had been deemed fit enough to play.
Ten minutes from time, Arsenal came close again. Fernandes lost the ball and Arsenal counter-attacked at speed.
The ball found Pepe on the right and he cut inside and ran at Maguire. When he hit his shot through Maguire’s legs, the Arsenal bench began to celebrate but instead of ballooning the net, the ball went inches wide.
Martin Odegaard, the Norway star once hailed as a wonderkid, the Norwegian Messi, and now at The Emirates on loan from Real Madrid as a half forgot marvel, made a late cameo appearance but it was too late for him to make a difference.
United should have grabbed all three points two minutes from stoppage time when Wan-Bissaka’s cross was met on the volley by Cavani six yards out but he could only direct his effort wide of the post.