After a hellish fortnight from an Arsenal perspective, the team put in a performance full of pride (but sadly not always professionalism) against the pretenders down the road.
After Ramsey’s excellent goal, Arsenal largely had the game where they wanted and were starting to look like favourites for a potentially decisive second goal when Francis Coquelin made his second unnecessary blatant foul of the afternoo’Thin. That lead to a second yellow card and one that was hard to argue with. Even before he’d finished making the ‘tackle’, the implications of the tackle were all too clear to the player, and it turned the game on its head.
The home support, having started to resemble the restlessness of the Emirates in midweek, was lifted, as were the Spurs players, and within what seemed like no time at all, Arsenal found themselves 2-1 down.
It took the courage of the players left on the pitch to take the initiative and after Alexis’ equaliser, Arsenal were the better side. Indeed, with a match official vaguely understanding the principle of consistency, Eric Dier would have departed in an even more stupid manner than Coquelin when the Gunners were in the ascendancy with only 10 men, and the chances of an Arsenal winner would have been significantly increased.
The paucity of the officials cannot be used an excuse for Coquelin’s indiscretion, however.
As an away player (or indeed an Arsenal player in almost any circumstances!), one has to recognise that the match officials are almost always going to treat you more harshly than the opposition, and you have to change your behaviour accordingly.
What made Coquelin’s bookings (particularly the second) worse was the utter needlessness of them. The second was out of either panic or a lack of professionalism.
We have all seen ample evidence that Coquelin has a bit of a short fuse, and while there it is good to have a bit more of that in the squad, for his role in the team, he has to learn to curb that more.