Arsenal stretched their winless run in the Premier League to four games after falling to a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Juan Mata gave the European Champions the lead on six minutes before Frank Lampard doubled their advantage from the penalty spot ten minutes later.
Theo Walcott celebrated signing his new contract by giving the visitors hope just before the hour mark, but Rafa Benitez’s men held on to take all three points.
The result leaves the Gunners seven points behind North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur, who currently occupy the final Champions League spot though they play their game in hand against West Ham United at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.
Elsehwere, Arsene Wenger is believed to have tabled a bid for highly rated defender Stopilla Sunzu.
The Zambian has been on trial with Premier League rivals Reading, though it is thought that the 23year old could be tempted by a move to the Emirates.
Montpelier defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who has been highly linked with Newcastle United, is also a potential target according to reports, with a bid of £6.7 million expected to be enough for the French Champions.
The Daily Mail have reported that Arsenal have been offered Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcouff on loan, and are considering a move for Celtic ‘s Victor Manyana.
Napoli forward Edison Cavani has distanced himself from rumours that he is to leave the club, amid interest from Arsene Wenger; while it seems that Manchester United have the edge over the Gunners in the race to sign Crystal Palace winger Wilfred Zaha.