Arsenal kept their hopes of winning the Premier League title alive after salvaging a 2-2 draw in the north London derby against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday (5 March) at White Hart Lane. Francis Coquelin, who was sent off 10 minutes into the second half, believes the Gunners could have taken all three points had he remained on the pitch for the entire 90 minutes.
The French midfielder has apologised profusely to his team, the club and the fans for his reckless tackle on Harry Kane that saw him pick up his second yellow card – after receiving the first one for a blatant handball in the first-half – and reducing Arsenal to 10 men. At this point, the Emirates Stadium outfit were 1-0 up owing to Aaron Ramsey's first-half goal, but the former France U21 international's dismissal handed Spurs the initiative and in seven minutes following his dismissal they were 2-1 up through goals from Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane.
Arsenal did not succumb to Tottenham's dominance as they showed grit to get back in the game with some positive play, which led to Alexis Sanchez levelling the scores 15 minutes left to play. The Gunners went into ascendency following their equaliser and Ramsey could have grabbed all three points for Arsene Wenger's team if not for Kevin Wimmer's last ditch tackle that took the ball away from Hugo Lloris's goal. Tottenham were the dominant team over the 90 minutes, but Coquelin believes that Arsenal could have won the match had he stayed on the pitch and competed 11 vs 11.
"I didn't really see the goal [because I was in the dressing room] but someone came and told me that we scored the second one - it was a relief for me. I did not want us to lose today because at 1-0 I thought we were doing great," Coquelin told Arsenal's official site.
"A point today is a good point, it is a great result for us. I'm really sorry to all the fans for the red card; I think with 11 against 11 we could have won the game as we were playing really well. This red card changed the game. I'm really sorry to the club, to the team and all the fans.
"I actually thought I could get the ball when I slide tackled [Harry Kane] - that is why I went for it. I touched him and [the referee] gave me the second yellow. But at the end of the day, it's a good point and hopefully it will be an important point for the title."