Substitute Louis Saha equalised late on to earn Manchester United a point in a compelling encounter at Highbury.
Thierry Henry had spectacularly given the home side the lead when he fired in a sublime swerving 30-yard shot.
United were angered when Ryan Giggs' penalty appeal after a Sol Campbell tackle was rejected, but Saha slotted in at the far post to snatch a draw.
The draw means Arsenal have now set a record of 30 league games unbeaten from the start of the season.
Arsenal had kicked off this much-anticipated game and a lively opening period more than matched the hype.
United set the tone at a vociferous Highbury as Paul Scholes almost embarrassed Arsenal defender Kolo Toure but failed to get a proper contact on his shot.
50 mins: Henry powers Arsenal ahead
53 mins: Giggs is denied a penalty
86 mins: Saha levels for Man Utd
Arsenal's response saw Henry play Freddie Ljungberg through only for a last-ditch tackle by Wes Brown to come to the visitors' rescue.
Almost immediately, Ljungberg's angled shot forced keeper Roy Carroll into a near-post save when he might have done better to square a pass to the in-rushing Jose Antonio Reyes.
At the other end, Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann had to dive quickly to his right to scramble away a well-struck Eric Djemba-Djemba volley.
A sprawling Carroll was back in action when saving a shot from Reyes before the flow of the game was interrupted by stoppages for strong tackles.
Tempers almost boiled over just after the half-hour mark when Patrick Vieira was penalised for a challenge on Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The clash resulted in Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and his United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson having a heated exchange on the touchline.
Wenger (left) and Ferguson clash on the touchline
Gary Neville was correctly denied a penalty soon after before Scholes mis-timed a shot during two moments of danger in the home box.
Henry was then through on the United goal but the usually clinical striker's first touch was too heavy and, when he fell in the area, his penalty claim was also justifiably waved away.
A fast and furious half ended with Roy Keane flashing a shot across the Arsenal goal.
Henry then landed a telling blow when he sent his long-range effort into the top of the United net shortly after the interval.
The visitors thought they would be given the chance to equalise from the spot but had the most viable penalty claim of the match turned down after Campbell stumbled into Giggs.
The referee decided there had been no contact had been made to the anger of United's players.
Arsenal sat back and tried to protect their lead but paid the price when Saha arrived at the far post to sidefoot in a Solskjaer cross at the far post.
Van Nistelrooy had the chance to grab a winner but he headed straight at Lehmann before Henry headed wide at the other end in a frantic finish.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Clichy, Pires (Bergkamp 85), Vieira, Edu, Ljungberg (Cygan 82), Reyes (Silva 77), Henry.
Subs not used: Kanu, Stack.
Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea, Fletcher (Solskjaer 71), Djemba-Djemba (Saha 59), Keane, Scholes, Giggs, van Nistelrooy.
Subs not used: Phil Neville, Butt, Howard.
Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).