Arsenal handed the Premier League initiative back to leaders Manchester United on Saturday with a limp performance in a goalless home draw against a Sunderland side who had lost their previous four games.
After Manchester United were beaten by Chelsea in midweek, victory for Arsenal would have put their title destiny in their own hands but without injured trio Robin van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott they mustered few clear chances despite dominating possession and had to share the points with Sunderland for the second time this season.
With 10 games remaining Manchester United, who play Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday, lead the way with 60 points, three ahead of Arsenal, who they still have to play at the Emirates in May. Manchester City, who host Wigan Athletic later on Saturday, are third on 50, two clear of Chelsea, who visit Blackpool on Monday.
Birmingham City came down to earth with a bump as, six days after upsetting Arsenal to win the League Cup at Wembley, they went down 3-1 at home to relegation rivals West Bromwich Albion and dropped into the bottom three. West Ham United edged out of the drop zone with a 3-0 home win over Stoke City.