Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur shared the spoils in a pulsating North London derby on Saturday at White Hart Lane, with the 10-man Gunners grabbing a deserved point courtesy of a late Alexis Sánchez strike.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger set his team up to play on the break against Tottenham Hotspur, and for nearly an hour of the game, the plan worked to perfection. The Gunners took the lead through a brilliantly improvised Aaron Ramsey effort, but Francis Coquelin’s red card in the 55th minute changed the complexion of the match.
Wenger admitted that the French midfielder’s mistake was a key moment in the derby, but was happy with the fight his team showed to get back into the game. Despite being overwhelmed by the home side in the immediate aftermath of the sending off, Arsenal refused to give up, and ultimately got their reward in the form of a 76th minute Alexis Sánchez equaliser.
Wenger happy with his side’s attitude and character
With Arsenal looking comfortable with a 1-0 lead and creating opportunities on the counter-attack, the Gunners’ boss insisted that he could not see his side throwing away points if the game remained 11 vs 11.
The Frenchman is quoted by BBC Sport as saying, “I couldn’t see how, with 11 against 11, we could drop points. I’m very happy with the attitude and character we showed. We refused to lose the game.”
His side will need to draw on that fighting spirit to get out of the rut they currently find themselves in, now failing to register a win in any of their last three Premier League games.
Coquelin mistake cost Arsenal
The 24-year-old was booked in the first half for a handball offence, and was reportedly warned by Arsène Wenger at half time about his precarious position. Despite that, a silly challenge on Harry Kane near the touchline left Michael Oliver with no option but to send him off, leaving Arsenal with 10 men for the best part of the second half.
“We made a big mistake when it was 1-0,” said Wenger. “Francis knows he made a big mistake and we can’t complain about the decision.”
However, the 66-year-old suggested that Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier should also have been sent off, for what looked like a second bookable offence on substitute Olivier Giroud.
“I can certainly complain that Dier wasn’t sent off,” added the Arsenal manager.
“The referee was ruthless with us but not with Tottenham.”