Arsenal and Liverpool sharing the points after a 0-0 draw at the Emirates concludes Matchday three of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season. We can reflect on the round that has just been by taking a look at the Good, Bad, and Ugly.
The best story of the weekend was undoubtedly Bournemouth's 4-3 victory over West Ham at the Boleyn Ground. The win was the Cherries' first ever in the English Premier League and was reward for effort after a really good two weeks. Bournemouth narrowly lost to Liverpool at Anfield last week but didn't let that deter them as they took the fight to West Ham to record a memorable win.
It was a match that contained goals, penalties, a red card, a hat-trick, and even a goalmouth scramble right at the end. Ultimately, the hero for the away team was Callum Wilson who bagged Bournemouth's first ever EPL hat-trick. Naturally, Wilson was delighted with his own performance but also happy with the fact that the team got their first win of the season.
It was not an easy task for the Cherries. Despite taking a two goal lead inside the first half hour, they let the lead slip as West Ham fought back gallantly. The Hammers managed to pull the match back to 2-2 and most would have expected the home team to find the winner. However Bournemouth steadied to regain the lead through a Marc Pugh goal and went on to claim a special three points.
More of an accumulative nomination rather than based purely on their weekend draw with Leicester City.
It has been an incredibly frustrating beginning to the season for Tottenham and its fans. In just three matches the supporters have seen their team lose to Manchester United 1-0 via an own-goal, give-up a two goal lead at home to Stoke City to draw 2-2, and surrender a 1-0 advantage at Leicester City just one minute after taking the lead. Spurs came into the 2015/16 season hoping to push for Champions League qualification, but after three matches they sit with just two points from a possible nine.
Tottenham have been, to this point, relatively quiet in the transfer window. Spurs have brought in just five players and have refrained from making what would be considered a 'marquee' signing. This is surprising considering how the teams who finished around Tottenham last season have strengthened. However there is still time remaining before the window closes so perhaps the sluggish start will snap chairman Daniel Levy, and manager Mauricio Pochettino, into action.
One thing that will be concerning Spurs in particular is the lack of goals from Harry Kane. Kane has, so far, failed to reproduce the goal-scoring form that stunned the football world last season and this has no doubt contributed to Tottenham's stuttering start. While Kane's all-round game has still been quite strong, it is his lack of goals that is the major concern. Tottenham and Kane have had a bad start to the season and will be desperate to turn it around before it is too late.
Manchester United's lack of goals.
Seven points from nine is not a bad return for the Red Devils after three league matches. The fact that the team has managed to keep a clean-sheet in all three will delight manager, Louis Van Gaal. However what will not be pleasing Van Gaal, and what is annoying United supporters, is the lack of goals from the team.
A 0-0 draw with Newcastle United on the weekend sparked widespread agreement throughout the media that United must buy another striker if they want to compete for trophies this season. The Club has only managed to score two goals thus far, with one of those being an own-goal from Tottenham's Kyle Walker on the opening day of the season.
The longer the issue in front of goal carries on, the more frustrated fans will get. In the Sir Alex Ferguson era scoring goals was one thing United had no problems with. However since the Scottish legend retired United have struggled to maintain their attacking identity. Stats show that United have declined significantly in 'total shots on target' across seasons since the exit of Ferguson:
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With United struggling to get as many shots on target this has naturally affected the number of goals they score. Therefore while a new striker might go some way to solving the problem, a much larger issue may exist. United's football has become dull, uninspired, mechanical, with some going as far to say 'ugly.'