Martin Atkinson’s decision to lay the blame at James Tarkowski’s door for his tangle with Glenn Murray was the third time this season the centre back has conceded a penalty.

You could probably argue a stroke of misfortune on every occasion, but there also has to be a question mark of just how necessary each challenge was.

Against Leeds United in the Carabao Cup he was penalised for a needless shove on Kemar Roofe. Against Arsenal Aaron Ramsey certainly made the most of any contact, but Tarkowski didn’t need to lay hands on the Gunners’ midfielder.

The debate over who was at fault for his coming together with Murray could go on and on had it not proved to be irrelevant when the striker blasted over from 12 yards.

But Tarkowski had done the hard work in forcing Murray away from goal and he didn’t need to risk a collision that ended with Murray on the deck and the ball on the spot.


Let’s be honest, when we take a look at that table it seems churlish to think of any potential negatives floating around this Burnley side.

But if we have to pick one out then it is the threat in front of goal. They’ve scored just 16 times in 18 league games now, scoring more than one goal in a game on just three occasions.

Of course they’ve conceded only 12, which is why that return is enough to be in the Premier League’s top six as the halfway mark approaches.

A greater ruthlessness in front of goal, coupled with the ability to create more chances, would be welcome though.

At the AMEX Burnley struggled to really get going in an attacking sense, but they could have won it when Chris Wood was sent through on goal, but he failed to get his chip over Mat Ryan.

The loss of Robbie Brady for the season certainly won’t help in terms of creativity and Burnley won’t want to rely on this stunning defensive record all season.


Brighton’s plan to trouble Burnley was something of a surprise as they sought to get the ball wide and fire in crosses for Murray.

To their credit, and especially Murray’s, it was a tactic that got some reward. You wouldn’t have expected Tarkowski and Ben Mee to be threatened with an aerial bombardment, but Murray did enough to ruffle feathers, those of Tarkowski in particular.

This was as tough an afternoon as the impressive centre back has had all season and he was no doubt to see the back of Murray in the second half.

Did Tarkowski’s frustration show itself with an elbow to Murray’s ribs late in the first half though? It was hard to tell how deliberate the action was, but hopefully he will be given the benefit of the doubt and avoid any threat of retrospective action.


This was one of the most obvious examples so far of the lessons the Clarets have taken from last season into this campaign.

Sean Dyche has spoken of how his side have been more assured away from home this season and have got used to managing games on the road in the Premier League.

They did that very well in the first half against Brighton. As the 45 minutes wore on Albion were growing stronger and stronger, but the Clarets did all they can to slow the game down and draw the string from their hosts.

It frustrated the home side and their fans but it worked as well. It was crucial Burnley got back to the dressing rooms level and they managed to do that. The threat never quite reached the same level in the second half.


Away from the AMEX Stadium results seemed to go for Burnley.

It’s still tricky to know exactly what the Clarets are fighting for this season, especially with Tottenham’s defeat at Manchester City seeing Burnley move a point clear of Spurs, who come to Turf Moor next Saturday for what promises to be a Christmas cracker.

But presuming the ‘Big Six’ will fill the top six positions that probably leaves Burnley battling for seventh and the title of ‘best of the rest’.

Leicester City and Watford have emerged as the two most realistic challengers for that position in recent weeks but both suffered surprise home defeats, giving Burnley a six-point cushion over the Foxes and a 10-point lead over the Hornets.