Having a great spell in the second half after taking the lead shortly before half-time, Arsenal were in control of the north London derby on Saturday until Francis Coquelin turned the game on its head.

Shown a second yellow card for a foul on Harry Kane, the Frenchman trudged down the tunnel and Spurs instantly scored twice. The Gunners came back with Alexis Sánchez scoring the equaliser, but with 10 men it wasn’t enough to claim the win.

“I didn’t really see the (Alexis) 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,” Coquelin said after the game. “I did not want us to lose today because at 1-0 I thought we were doing great.

“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.”

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Francis Coquelin of Arsenal walks off the pitch after being sent off during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal at White Hart Lane on March 5, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Sent off with over half an hour to play, Coquelin delivered the turning point in Saturday’s north London derby. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

As we now know, he couldn’t get the ball. Already on a booking it was a stupid challenge to make and it may well have cost Arsenal a north London derby win as well as two points in the title race. Coquelin is trying to look at things more positively, though.

“But at the end of the day, it’s a good point and hopefully it will be an important point for the title.”

Now eight points behind Leicester (who have a significantly easier run-in) that seems unlikely. From the position we were in after 50 minutes this really doesn’t seem or feel or look like a good point.