Two visits to North London in the space of a week, two homeward journeys accompanied by the bitterest taste of frustration, anger and a sense of injustice.
Against Tottenham last week, Burnley were undone by a last gasp goal in injury time. Yesterday at Arsenal, it was by two preventable goals at the beginning of each half and a late controversial one.
Anyone possessing reasonable eyesight and a rudimentary knowledge of the laws of football could tell Alex Iwobi's goal was scored from an offside position. Sadly, those qualities did not extend to the match officials.
The goals they conceded, however, do not tell the story of a Burnley display that was much more positive, determined and feisty than many we have seen previously this season.
Once again that little bit of extra quality was the decisive factor in this game. Leading EPL goal scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed the kind of killer touch in the penalty area that eluded Ashley Westwood and Chris Wood. Both Burnley players spurned two of the Clarets most presentable chances.
Added to that was an obvious and blatant push on Kevin Long, which any VAR appraisal would surely have recorded the verdict of a penalty kick.
We need VAR, the kangaroo court of referee Kevin Friend proved to be an aptly named official if you happen to be an Arsenal player or supporter. The EPL and Sean Dyche deserve better.
The same Mr Friend waved his yellow card at Ashley Barnes after he had felt the sharp edge of Sokratis’ (forever known to me at least as So-crates in a nod of appreciation to “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”) elbow. That seemed to fire Barnes up, and thereafter we saw Barnes at his robust and bolshy best.
He was rewarded with a goal which brought Burnley back into the game at 2-1 and owed much to the tenacity of Westwood, who wasn’t prepared to allow Arsenal to get away with some hesitancy in their penalty area. The ball subsequently broke to Barnes who drilled it into the back of the net.
This was the highlight of a second half display in which Burnley were marginally the better team and as a result deserved more from the game than the 3-1 scoreline suggests. A defeat inflicted on the Clarets by a combination of Arsenal’s superior finishing and the toxic ineptitude of the match officials.
So, Burnley remain in the bottom three, but they are at last showing spirt and true grit and it was good to see them get a little bit angry yesterday. Recent performances are not being reflected in the points tally and that is alarming for the global legions of Clarets fans.
History shows us teams can play well and lose, but ultimately end up being relegated. Teams who are constantly at the wrong end of absurd refereeing decisions end up getting relegated. This seems to be the situation Sean Dyche is now facing and his post match anger yesterday was plain for all to see.
History also shows us that teams who find themselves in the bottom three at the season’s half-way point usually end up getting relegated. Sean Dyche has done this dance before and hope springs eternal the Clarets will retain their place amongst the elite.
Merry Christmas everybody, let's hope the Toffees are full of Christmas tidings and goodwill on Boxing Day.
Written post match by an outraged Dave Thornley who contributes regularly for Clarets Mad. (TEC).