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Francis Coquelin Apologises for Red Card vs. Tottenham

Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane is foulded by Arsenal's French midfielder Francis Coquelin (L) which leads to  Francis Coquelin receiving a second yellow card during the English Premier League football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane in London, on March 5, 2016. / AFP / IKIMAGES / IKimages / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.        (Photo credit should read IKIMAGES/AFP/Getty Images)
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Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2016

Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has apologised for his red card against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday after the incident swung the game away from the Gunners. 

The north London teams drew, 2-2, at White Hart Lane in the race for the Premier League title, but Coquelin was given his marching orders for a slide tackle on Harry Kane, earning himself a second yellow when Arsenal were 1-0 up. 

The club's official website quoted the player speaking about the incident and admitted he was "relieved" Arsenal found a way to grab a late equaliser:

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.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Francis Coquelin (R) of Arsenal is shown a red card by referee Michael Oliver (C)  during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on March 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The Gunners were in control of the match in the first half as Aaron Ramsey grabbed the lead, but Coquelin's dismissal saw Arsenal collapse as Spurs scored twice in two minutes.

However, Alexis Sanchez saved Coquelin's blushes, as he struck 12 minutes from time to keep his side in the title race. 

Manager Arsene Wenger also commented about the red card to BT Sport (h/t James Benge of the London Evening Standard) and admitted Arsenal have "big regrets" about the game after being ahead:

We have big regrets because it looked while we were in control when we were down to 10 men... It’s difficult to take.

We told Coquelin at half-time because he already had a yellow. I think Dier deserves a second yellow as well, that could have changed the game.

But overall we have to look at ourselves on that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05:  Francis Coquelin of Arsenal walks off the pitch after receiving the red card during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on March 5, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Sha
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal remain in third after the match, but Manchester City are now close behind after beating Aston Villa, 4-0, on Saturday. 

The Sky Blues sit only two points behind the Gunners, and Leicester City's 1-0 at Watford win means they now trail the leaders by eight points.

The games are beginning to run out for Wenger and his men, and their traditional end-of-season collapse appears in full swing.

Spurs will feel they should have collected the points after dominating for spells, but they allowed Arsenal to counter and find a way to achieve parity. 

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