Arsene Wenger has revealed that he warned Francis Coquelin about the possibility of getting sent off at half-time and admits the French midfielder made a big mistake.
Coquelin was booked in the first-half for a deliberate handball and was constantly dancing on the edge of disaster from that moment. With Arsenal winning at 1-0 at half-time and in apparent control, Wenger told the 24-year-old to keep his head screwed on in what was going to be a massive 45 minutes in their season.
With Arsenal winning at 1-0 at half-time and in apparent control, Wenger told the 24-year-old to keep his head screwed on in what was going to be a massive 45 minutes in their season.
However, a clumsy and unnecessary slide tackle on Harry Kane gave Michael Oliver no chance but to dismiss him. It was the 55th minute and completely changed the game. Wenger says Coquelin will have to "learn quickly" after such an error.
"He knows that he made a big mistake. We warned him at half-time. He wanted to do well and mistimed his tackle," Wenger said after the game. "He has to learn quickly from that. The top level is full commitment but in a controlled way. He made a mistake when on a yellow card."
Had Coquelin taken Wenger's advice, Arsenal could well have left White Hary Lane with all three points, but they may have done that anyway had the referee handed a second yellow to Tottenham midfielder Eric Dier.
After a cynical foul on Olivier Giroud, it looked for all the world that the game would be evened up, but Oliver decided against it, much to Wenger's disappointment.
Wenger said: "I can’t complain about it [Coquelin's red card]. I can complain that Dier wasn’t sent-off."
"I think the referee should come in the press conference after the game as well so that he could give you an answer."