Belfast Telegraph

Diving drives Dyche to distraction

Burnley boss was unhappy with the antics of some Arsenal players in his side’s defeat at the Emirates.

Sean Dyche, right, was unhappy with what he saw as play-acting by Arsenal (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Sean Dyche, right, was unhappy with what he saw as play-acting by Arsenal (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Sean Dyche accused Arsenal players of diving as his side were beaten 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.

A Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brace put the Gunners on course for three points before Ashley Barnes halved the arrears for the visitors – only for substitute Alex Iwobi to wrap up the victory in stoppage time.

There were a couple of flashpoints during the game and Barnes was arguably lucky to still be on the pitch to score after he had been booked and committed a number of further fouls.

Granit Xhaka was involved in a touchline spat after a challenge went against Burnley on halfway, while Mesut Ozil remonstrated with referee Kevin Friend having had a free-kick shout turned down.

Alexandre Lacazette also seemed to go down easily under pressure in the away penalty, and the Gunners were criticised by an unhappy Dyche.

“We certainly didn’t get a lot today with the decisions,” a visibly angry Clarets boss said.

“Where do you want to start with the decisions? Shall we start with the 61 games without a penalty?

“And a clear double-handed push in the back on Kevin Long. That’s a pretty good place to start, I think.

“There were two dives. No one seems to want to do anything about diving in the game apart from me. I’m still amazed by it.

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“We had three the other week. It just goes away.

“Kids everywhere are watching, all copying it. No one seems to care about it. It’s purely factual. Facts, facts, facts. Nothing to do with a campaign. If it was a campaign I’d be out there everywhere.

“I want to see people banned because if they were, it would evaporate out of the game.

“Millions of children, millions of children. You wouldn’t ruffle your kids’ hair if they came home after school and cheated in a maths test.

“They cheat at a game of football and it’s okay. It’s almost like ‘Well done. We got away with that one’.

“There are hundreds of millions of pounds at stake in this game and we have got all kinds of gadgets to view these things and hopefully VAR will make a difference – but I don’t think it will make a radical difference – I’m talking about the morality of the game.

“I’m absolutely amazed at where it’s at at the moment. And nobody is bothered. I’m not saying anything too grandiose. But I’m amazed more people don’t look at it factually and go: ‘Do we really want to see that? Can’t we just get on with playing?'”

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Unai Emery did not feel his side had acted improperly in the win over Burnley (Nick Potts/PA)

Arsenal head coach Unai Emery, who saw his side return to winning ways after defeats to Southampton and Tottenham, felt Dyche was incorrect in his assessment.

“I do not agree,” he said.

“It is not my spirit. Diving, I think, is not correct. We need to respect the referee’s decision. I think VAR is coming here in the future and I think this will help the referees, because the referees can make mistakes, like us.

“I make mistakes every day but I want to learn and I want to also help to do less mistakes with my decisions.

“The referees are the same, but we need to respect them. I think today was very important for us. We struggled with their actions and they struggled with our actions.”

The major talking point ahead of kick-off was the inclusion of Ozil in the Arsenal starting line-up, with the 30-year-old also named as captain for the afternoon.

The German was dropped from the squad for Wednesday’s defeat to Tottenham and had not started a league game since November 11 – with Emery saying on the eve of the Burnley clash that he could not assure him of a place in his side, nor confirm whether he would remain past the January window.

“(It was a) very good response,” Emery said.

“I think he played like we needed today. His skills, his commitment with us today was very good and he helped us. We need Mesut Ozil and today, he was there for us.”

PA

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