No white flag for Burnley's Coyle
Owen Coyle is not in the business of hoisting the white flag as Burnley's response to facing the Premier League's biggest names.
As a result of this approach (some might even call it unorthodox in the light of recent events), Coyle found himself facing a searching inquisition on the subject of Wolverhampton Wanderers after his side took a deserved point off Arsenal.
Wolves boss Mick McCarthy's decision to effectively concede defeat when he wrote out his team-sheet at Manchester United was still a hot topic at Turf Moor after another meeting between the top flight's haves and have-nots.
Burnley's method of taking on Arsenal - "standing toe-to-toe" in the words of Coyle - could not have been further removed from the surrender that so angered the Wolves fans who shelled out to watch their reserves meet an inevitable end at Old Trafford.
Ironically, the bold manner in which Burnley set about Arsenal, even after gifting Cesc Fabregas an early goal, offered support for both sides of McCarthy's argument.
Coyle's Burnley have made themselves very difficult to beat at Turf Moor
There is a new vulnerability about the Premier League's top teams this season, an opportunity to claim points that were not on offer in previous seasons. So the route forward has to be the way outlined by Coyle after this thrilling draw when he said: "I always feel we can win any game and that's the way we go about it."
On the other side of the debate, Burnley played with such vibrant freedom and desire that you almost saw the logic in McCarthy saving his best for the meeting of the two teams at Molineux on Sunday - until you came to your senses that is.
How did the Wolves players who sweated to win at Spurs feel about being left out at Old Trafford? What has happened to the momentum built up by that outstanding victory at White Hart Lane?
Yes, the hectic fixture list can be questioned, but Burnley also played at the weekend and where is the concrete evidence that they put less effort into a draw against Fulham than Wolves did in winning at Spurs?
The judgement on McCarthy's actions will start when Burnley come to town and the final reckoning will follow when Wolves either stay up or go down at the end of the season. One thing is for sure: if Wolves do not beat Burnley he will have some explaining to do.
As a general principle, though, give me the manager who thinks he can win every game rather than the one who limply accepts there are times when his team have no chance. In other words, Owen Coyle.
Burnley's record once the team coach gets 30 yards away from Turf Moor is atrocious, but do not expect their fans to be making vocal demands for their cash back because Coyle has sent out a team designed to get what he regards as an inevitable defeat out of the way. It is not in the Scot's psyche.
Coyle knew what was coming when the subject of Wolves was raised and dealt with it in a dignified manner, offering support for McCarthy the man and manager.
"Mick is an outstanding manager and a fantastic man. He has done a fantastic job and does what he sees fit for Wolves," said Coyle.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was less forthcoming in his praise of McCarthy, although he did question fixtures being played this week.
"It is sad but what can I do? We will have to compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38," he said.
"It's a problem for the international credibility of the Premier League for sure, but it's not my problem, it's a Premier League problem."
Sad indeed - but if fortune favours the brave then Burnley and Coyle's approach will be rewarded and they showed what they are all about on another fevered night at Turf Moor.
The one and only Stuart Hall, in between revealing in the match programme that he was once banned from Burnley's press box for making fun of the chairman's wife's hat ("an upturned chamber pot decorated with outsized floribunda"), waxed typically lyrical about Coyle's approach.
"To feet, to space, to attack. Football is tribal. To most teams it's win at all costs. To Owen and his superb team it's win in style."
Coyle's team drew in style against Arsenal and provided a resounding answer to those who may be tempted to copy the McCarthy theory that states, in football terms, that there are days when you might as well just hand over your pocket money to the biggest boys in the playground.
Wenger wrongly claimed Arsenal were "dominating" after the interval - unless I actually left Turf Moor and attended an entirely different game after half-time that is.
Burnley's Graham Alexander grabbed the equaliser from the spot
Burnley were Arsenal's match and more besides once Graham Alexander scored from the spot, as he always does, to equalise. They passed and probed and created the more dangerous openings as Man-of-the-Match Chris Eagles hit a post and Steven Fletcher had a goal ruled out.
For Arsenal, this was two points lost but it was no hard luck story. And a hamstring injury suffered by Cesc Fabregas will not have improved Wenger's mood on the return journey to London.
Another worry for Arsenal, and England, is the current form of Theo Walcott. This gifted youngster, who carries so much expectation ahead of the World Cup, is currently a shadow of his true self.
He was confined to the edges of a game that ebbed and flowed, and never seriously troubled Burnley defender Stephen Jordan. Walcott lacked sharpness and confidence - a player struggling for his best form after injury.
It was an ignominious moment when he was taken off just after the hour, not long after wasting an attacking opportunity for Arsenal with a woeful cross into the visiting fans when under no pressure.
Wenger and Capello must hope more games will see Walcott come out of his shell. He was not an influence at Burnley.
This was an uncomfortable night for Arsenal, who failed to build on a win at Liverpool that had Wenger announcing they were "mentally and mathematically" back in the title race.
And the reason for their discomfort was that Burnley's first-choice team, inspired by their manager's example, had the guts, heart and belief to take on opponents even they would admit are superior in most aspects of the game.
Burnley got the reward of a point that could prove vital at the end of the season. There might just be a lesson there.
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