Premier League Round 3 Review: Reds, Gunners Lead Draw-Strewn Weekend

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“Fit to be tied” is an apt theme for the third round of Premier League action in 2015-16.

Six of the 10 games in England’s top flight ended in draws, including just about every highly anticipated matchup. Perhaps it’s a sign that teams are entering rhythms, developing clear patterns to their play and growing increasingly focused, as opening stages of the season drift into the past. Or maybe the gap between Premier League teams’ average standards of performance is shrinking.

Arsenal and Liverpool both had chances to make a statement of intent in their meeting on Monday at the Emirates Stadium, but the teams followed the weekend’s script by failing to produce a winner after 90 minutes of action. If either the Reds or Gunners want to contend for the Premier League title, they’ll have to buck recent trends and separate themselves from the pack when opportunity presents itself … like current leader Manchester City has done early on in 2015-16.

We react to each result below (home team listed first):

Saturday, Aug. 22
Manchester United 0 – 0 Newcastle
The Red Devils and Magpies started the weekend’s draw-fest at Old Trafford. Manchester United lost its perfect record by dominating play but failing to breach a determined and well-organized Newcastle.

Crystal Palace 2 – 1 Aston Villa
The Eagles bounced back from last week’s loss to Arsenal by dispatching the Villans at home. One of these teams can expect to battle relegation this season. It won’t be Crystal Palace.

West Ham United 3 – 4 Bournemouth
Bournemouth earned its first-ever Premier League win on the road against West Ham, whose defensive performances in their last two games suggest the form it showed in its season-opening win over Arsenal was a one-off.

Norwich City 1 – 1 Stoke City
The newly-promoted Canaries bossed game against the Premier-League-proven Potters but had to settle for a home draw. Stoke City claims a point for the second week in succession.

Sunderland 1 – 1 Swansea City
Sunderland looked like it would succumb to a third-straight defeat when it conceded the opening goal against Swansea City. The Black Cats put a smile on manager Dick Advocaat’s face by fighting back in the second half to score a goal and earn a point.

Leicester City 1 – 1 Tottenham
Tottenham missed a chance to earn its first win of the season when it conceded the game-tying goal 90 seconds after taking the lead. Leicester City banks another point — this time against an opponent with lofty ambitions — and its fine start to the season continues.

Sunday, Aug. 23
West Brom 2 – 3 Chelsea
John Terry controversially was sent off and Pedro scored on his debut, as Chelsea dramatically won for the first time this season. Expect West Brom’s early season woes to continue into fall.

Everton 0 – 2 Manchester City
Manchester City made it a perfect three wins out of three games with a powerful and professional performance against a highly motivated Everton at Goodison Park.

Watford 0 – 0 Southampton
Nothing to see here. Watford and Southampton still search for that elusive first win of the season.

Monday, Aug. 24
Arsenal 0 – 0 Liverpool
Check out what happened at the Emirates Stadium in our report and what it means for the Reds in our verdict.

Thumbnail photo via Kirsty Wigglesworth/The Associated Press

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