The net result of Burnley’s two fixtures against Arsenal this season is that the Clarets should be two points better off, had the laws of football been correctly applied by the match officials.
Laurent Koscielney is unlikely to feature too prominently on the Christmas card list of the majority of Burnley fans, after elbowing in the winner when the teams met at Turf Moor back in early October.
Koscielney's latest trick was to duck into Ben Mee’s admittedly unwisely flailing boot to win a last gasp penalty at the Emirates yesterday, in both instances executed in an offside position.
Some defeats are easier to take than others, to be outplayed and outclassed is one thing, but to battle toe-to-toe, claw one’s way back into the game, then be unfairly denied at the last, leaves only the bitterest of tastes and further fuels the belief that little old Burnley cannot expect to receive the benefit of even the most considerable of doubts from match officials when pitted against one of the Premier League’s giant clubs.
The Emirates is an imposing stadium, a veritable cathedral of football and a largely static first half caused a tranquillity to descend amidst its cloisters. But there was plenty of atmosphere generated in an increasingly frenzied second half, in which Burnley held their nerve, the match reaching a crescendo with the award of Burnley’s penalty and Wenger’s dismissal.
Most of that “atmosphere” was aimed at referee Jon Moss, and it is no great leap of the imagination to suppose that the pressure exerted on him caused his judgement to wane.
It was particularly rough on Ben Mee, who hitherto had been the best player on the pitch, a defensive rock of enormous consistency. His perfectly-timed tackle on Danny Welbeck when the latter was through on goal, stirred wistful memories of blond haired number sixes in claret (or sky blue) shirts from long ago.
The intervening twenty-four hours have allowed for some perspective, this Burnley display was better than witnessed in the home fixture against the Gunners, better too than the honourable siege at Old Trafford.
With less taxing away fixtures to come, there is every reason to believe that should yesterday’s level of performance be maintained, Sean Dyche's battlers can expect to garner sufficient points from their travels to secure Premier League status.
As a footnote: whilst gazing round the towering stands of the Emirates, it struck me that it is thirty years since the season in which Burnley almost dropped out of the league. Back in those dark days, away games in London meant Leyton Orient and Barnet.
The Clarets have come a long way since then.
This article is written by Clarets Mad contributor and uber Burnley fan, David Thornley.