Tottenham is the Premier League's only remaining unbeaten team and yet looks no closer to landing its first title in more than 50 years.
Not when it seems content settling for draws — the fourth in a row coming in Sunday's derby against Arsenal.
Although Spurs prevented Arsenal going top with the 1-1 draw, they remain three points and a place behind their neighbors in fifth place.
"If you have some bad moments and you are still unbeaten, you can smile," Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino said.
Having come so close to landing the trophy last season — before collapsing to finish behind Arsenal and champion Leicester — Tottenham has been unable to recreate the attacking spark in this campaign.
Harry Kane, last season's top scorer in the league, returned from almost two months out with injury at the Emirates Stadium and provided the equalizer from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half.
But that was Kane's major impact — after Mousa Dembele was tripped by Laurent Koscielny — during 73 minutes on the field. Match fitness is still lacking after missing ten games while recovering from ligament damage in his right ankle.
And Tottenham has failed to score from open play in the last six games while winless in all competitions in seven games.
"I think we played well at a very difficult place," Pochettino said. "Arsenal are on a very good run and have momentum."
In an attempt to stifle Arsenal, Pochettino emulated Chelsea manager Antonio Conte by removing a man from defense and going with three at the back.
"It is important to be flexible," Pochettino said. "That is a good step forward for the team to use different systems."
Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier played either side of Kevin Wimmer who was handed his first league start of the season. Wimmer did make a fine connection with a free kick to head the ball into the net just before halftime. The problem was it was Mesut Ozil's delivery and the goal gifted Arsenal the lead.
But the new defensive formation did restrict Arsenal to just two shots on goal in a frantic lunchtime kickoff in chilly north London, while Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were a menace going forward operating as wing backs.
"I think when you have the full backs we have like Rose and Walker ... they can play forward like offensive players," Pochettino said. "Today we tried to put them in a better position. That was our idea and to play two striker and two midfielders who are more offensive. We worked hard to prepare the game and I am happy."
Only the post prevented Tottenham grabbing three points when Christian Eriksen curled in a free kick that beat goalkeeper Petr Cech.
The eleven-match unbeaten run to start the league campaign is Tottenham's longest unbeaten start since last winning the English title in the 1961-62 season. But emulating Arsenal's unbeaten 2003-04 "Invincibles" and ending the Tottenham title drought looks unlikely.
Arsenal, which hasn't collected the trophy since 2004, is two points behind leader Liverpool and manager Arsene Wenger saw Sunday's draw as two points dropped.
"There was high intensity where I felt in the first half like we could always score," Wenger said. "In the second half we looked a bit more flat physically, less sharp and we couldn't find the creativity around the box.
"Did we get a little bit a mental blow when they equalized? I don't know."