For the third time in a row, Sean Dyche went into the final few minutes of a match against Arsenal, thinking he was set to draw, only to lose with seconds to spare.
On this occasion, pundits agreed with Arsène Wenger that the correct decision was made to award a late penalty for a foul on Aaron Ramsey, but after the previous two losses, Dyche is clearly starting to feel a bit hard done by.
He said to reporters after the match: “There’s a lot of me inside that’s raging a lot. I’ve told them [his players] that we continue to develop, we continue to move forward. I’ve also told them this is the reality. Football’s a harsh game and sometimes it hurts you.
“It probably is a penalty but it was never not going to be given, I can assure you. You lay your hands on someone, he goes down, they are tough calls; you have to be 100%, which I assume the referee is. We’ve had a lot not given. I don’t know why. The bigger clubs seem to get the decisions.”
The refereeing performance in general wasn’t exactly a masterclass, but I don’t think there was much evidence of big-club bias. In fact, I personally spent much of the match complaining that Mason’s constant whistle-blowing without ever looking to play advantage was playing into Burnley’s hands.
There were at least three or four occasions where Arsenal had retained possession and had the chance to break, but were pulled back for a free-kick. That’s before we even mention the penalty not given on Hector Bellerín, which seemed even more obvious than the Ramsey one.
I’m not trying to argue that Mason was biased against Arsenal, just that there were questionable decisions all round on the day. It’s easy to blame the referee when you’ve worked so hard for 90 minutes only to leave with nothing. But unfortunately that’s what you get when you push someone to the ground in your own box in injury time.