Did you know that last weekís ďBargain BinĒ players scored as many goals as Luiz Suarez and Gareth Bale combined? Ok, so Suarez and Bale arenít playing yet, but that doesnít mean that the predictions were complete busts. Asmir Begovic finished the week with four saves and was one defensive lapse away from picking up a clean sheet. In that same match, Robert Huth managed to pick up a rare assist for a defender. In addition, Ross Barkley led Everton in shots, but he just wasnít able to find the back of the net. While I think Barkley continues to be a good play and vastly undervalued, he isnít included this week. Here are Gameweek Three's Bargain Bin guys.
During the 2010-11 Premier League season, Stoke City finished 20th in goals scored away from home. The next season, they finished 19th. The Potters started this season on the road and managed to score zero goals. It is fairly safe to say that Stoke City are not prolific goal scorers away from Britannia Stadium. This week, they travel to play West Ham United and Jussi Jaaskelainen. To say that Jaaskelainen has been on his game this season would be an understatement. He has yet to allow a goal through two matches. Granted, Cardiff City and Newcastle United arenít the stiffest competition for goalkeepers, but Stoke City could be lumped into a similar category when it comes to their odds of scoring a goal this weekend. Jaaskelainen has a good opportunity to start the season 3-for-3 when it comes to collecting clean sheets.
We can go right back to the West Ham well when we look for a good bargain at defender this week. To be honest, all of the West Ham defenders are bargain plays this week. It is difficult to single out just one when the group has been so good at preventing teams from getting good opportunities this season. However, if you're going to pick one, it's best to go for the one with a chance to steal a goal: Joey OíBrien, who was the teamís leader in goals scored by a defender last season, as well as chipping in a few assists. While I think you canít go wrong trying to pick up a clean sheet this week with a West Ham defender, OíBrien separates himself from the group a little bit.
Manchester City have to be a little embarrassed after last weekís stunning loss to Cardiff City. They have had a week to stew about it and now get to play another newly-promoted team in Hull City at home this week. Last season, when the Sky Blues had a home match following a loss, they shut out their next opponent two-thirds of the time. In fact, Manchester City at home last season allowed a league-low 15 goals. Joleon Lescott was mentioned here last week and was pretty much a bust, as Manchester City allowed three goals. This week should be a different story, and with Vincent Kompany still nursing a groin injury, Lescott should continue to see plenty playing time. And just for added measure, Lescott has been Cityís most accurate passer and leads the teamís defenders in shots taken this season.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United promises to be an exciting match between two teams that expect to be near the top of the table when the season is over. There should also be some offensive fireworks on display from both teams this weekend. In all competitions between these two over the past three years, an average of three goals have been scored. For Liverpool, Jordan Henderson has become fairly involved from the midfield, and is currently third on the team in shots taken. He also trails only Daniel Sturridge on the team in shots on target. Hendersonís involvement in the attack was finally rewarded during this weekís Capital One Cup match against Notts County, as he scored a goal in victory. Coming on as a sub during the Notts County match should leave him fresh for the upcoming matchup with Manchester United on Sunday. With his momentum and increased role in the attack, Henderson provides good value for a midfielder this week.
Aaron Ramsey has really benefited from the injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Since Chamberlain went down with a knee injury, Ramsey has averaged two shots a game in all of Arsenalís competitions. That includes scoring three goals in their Champions League qualifiers against Fenerbahce. The Wales native is seeing an increased role in the attacking scheme for Arsenal this season that really started at the end of last season. Over the final nine games of last season, Ramsey averaged over two shots per contest. This week, Arsenal faces rivals Tottenham at home. Spurs have been very stingy with their defense so far this season, having not allowed a goal to date. However, they havenít faced a team with Arsenalís firepower. In fact, in Tottenhamís last two trips to Emirates Stadium, they have allowed Arsenal to score a total of 10 goals. Look for Arsenal to continue to find the back of the net against their rivals this week and for Ramsey to partake in the action.
Itís easy to forget that Darren Bent scored 17 goals just three years ago. In the time since then, heís fallen out of favor with Aston Villa and has been loaned out to Fulham. Now, with a new lease on playing time, heís taking full advantage. He scored a goal in his debut against Arsenal last weekend, followed by his first start in the teamís Capital One Cup match earlier this week against Burton Albion. Sure, he had to play 120 minutes in that match, but he should be ready to go by Saturday. His opponent this weekend is a Newcastle squad that Fulham has averaged two goals against over the past two seasons. Fulham should find ways to score this weekend and they will continue to feature Bent in their attacking strategy.
Just like Bent, Marouane Chamakh has been given a fresh opportunity thanks to a summer transfer. And just like Bent, Chamakh came through with a goal in his first appearance for his new team, Crystal Palace. When Chamakh joined Palace, he became their best option for scoring goals and this week, he will ply his trade this week against a visiting Sunderland squad. No one in the Championship scored more goals at home last season than Crystal Palace and combined with the fact that Sunderland finished in the bottom half in goals allowed away from home last season, Chamakh has a good opportunity to find the back of the net yet again.