Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has apologised to his teammates and fans for being sent off in the North London derby at Tottenham on Saturday and said he is relieved his teammates rescued a 2-2 draw.
Arsenal were 1-0 up when Coquelin earned a second booking for an ill-advised sliding challenge on Harry Kane near the sideline 10 minutes into the second half.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger labelled the challenge a “big mistake” as the Gunners fell further behind leaders Leicester in the title race.
Coquelin has now issued a public apology, telling Arsenal’s official website: “I’m really sorry for all the fans for taking the red card.
“I think 11 against 11 we could have won the game, I think we were playing really well. Obviously this red card changed the game. I’m really sorry for the club for the team, and obviously for the fans. I thought I could get the ball when I slide tackled, that’s why I went for it. I touched him, and he gave me the second yellow.”
Tottenham scored two quick goals after Coquelin was sent off but Alexis Sanchez rescued a point for the visitors with an equaliser.
The result kept Arsenal three points behind Tottenham in the standings, and they fell eight points behind Leicester after the Foxes beat Watford in Saturday’s late game.
Still, Coquelin said he hoped the point earned at White Hart Lane could prove important in the end.
“Considering my red card I think it’s a great result for us,” he said. “At the end of the day I think it’s a good point, and I hope it will be an important point in the race for the title.”
The midfielder said he couldn’t watch Sanchez’s equaliser in the dressing room but was elated when he was told of the goal.
“Obviously it was a relief for me, because I didn’t want us to lose today,” he said. “I think we showed today great character, even 10 against 11. If we would have lost today it would have been really tough, and I think it’s going to be a really important point.”