Welcome back for Week Four of “The Bargain Bin”, where through the first three weeks we have predicted as many goals as West Brom has produced! But that number isn’t the one I’d like to talk about: last week one of the defenders and both midfielders discussed here picked up points thanks to clean sheets. For the season, we are now five out of eight at picking up clean sheets from the defender and midfield positions.
As for the lack of scoring, it will come. Half of the forwards and midfielders have either led their team or were second on their team in shots when they were recommended. In addition, more than half of them have played on the side that took more shots than their opponent. Sooner or later the shots will start finding the back of the net and you’ll be glad you saved some money with a players found here.
With that, let’s take a look at some players that you can use to fill your roster and your stat sheet with Week Four’s Bargain Bin.
This one is going to come as a bit of a surprise, but there is the need to go less obvious and shake things up after having the last two goalies give up one measly goal each and ruin their value. This week, Swansea play host to Liverpool. In the time that Swansea has been back to the Premier League, Liverpool have managed a total of zero goals when they travel to Liberty Stadium. In fact, three of the last four matches played between the two sides have seen Swansea prevent Liverpool from scoring a single goal. Michael Vorm has picked up two of those clean sheets and expects to be in net this weekend. Swansea City are a team that finished in the top half in collecting clean sheets last season, and have been extra stingy at home against Liverpool. Liverpool haven’t exactly been lighting the net on fire this season, either. Only Daniel Sturridge has managed to score for Liverpool through three matches. Look for Swansea to blank the Reds in their prime-time Monday showdown.
Did you know that only one team was shut out more times than West Ham United were away from home last season? In addition, West Ham is 15th in shots taken so far this season. That is a number that is higher thanks to an 18-shot performance they had back in Week 1. They are a team that will struggle to find the back of the net while their best goal scorer, Andy Carroll, continues to miss time. This week, they travel to St. Mary’s Stadium to take on Southampton. The Saints have been fantastic at preventing opponents from getting good looks and are third in the Premier League this season in allowing the fewest shots on goal. Paced by Jose Fonte in blocked shots, the team has done a great job keeping opponents out of the net. In addition to some stellar defense, Fonte has chipped in a goal and he currently leads the team’s defenders in shots and crosses. So in addition to the potential clean sheet, he has the ability to get some bonus offensive points as well.
Only five teams have possessed the ball more during their matches than Tottenham (54 percent) so far this year and Norwich City surely isn’t one of them (just 45 percent). Tottenham have used this ball control to produce two clean sheets so far this season. One player who has been on the backline for both of those matches is Danny Rose, who is a good bet to pick up another clean sheet this week against a Canaries squad that is 14th in shots taken this season and were shut out in 42 percent of their matches away from home last season. As an added bonus, according to ESPN’s player tracking data, no defender plays closer to their opponent’s net on Tottenham than Rose. The Spurs are a team that like to attack from the wings and Rose also leads his team in crosses, which can lead to unexpected offensive value.
More is certainly to be expected from Ross Barkley now that Marouane Fellaini is no longer in town. Barkley already leads the team in shots taken and will see even more opportunities with the departure of his former midfield teammate. In addition, Everton match up well with a Chelsea squad that is coming to town. Everton has managed to score in each of their last four home games against the Blues, with two of those matches resulting in clean sheets. Everton have been stingy in matches played at Goodison Park, ranking fifth in clean sheets at home last season. They are currently working on a six-match clean sheet streak and Barkley should have some great value both offensively and defensively this weekend.
West Brom has the distinction of being the last team to score a goal in Premier League play this season. In Week Four, they have the difficult task of trying to get their first goal against a Fulham squad that has caused them trouble. Fulham has outscored West Brom 7-1 in the last three matches between the clubs at Craven Cottage. Fulham’s charge this season has been directed in part by midfielder Adel Taarabt, who currently leads the team in shots and is third on the team in crosses attempted. Taarabt and his fellow midfielders have accounted for two goals and four assists in Fulham’s last three home matches against West Brom. This appears to be a great matchup for Taarabt to rack up some good points this week.
We look to break our goalless streak with forwards this week with Frazier Campbell, who was the hero two weeks ago when Cardiff shocked the Premier League by upsetting Manchester City. This week, he and his fellow Bluebirds travel to Hull City to face a team they match up well against. Cardiff has scored at least two goals in four out of their last six matches against Hull City. This includes five goals in their last three trips to KC Stadium. Campbell is tied for the team lead in shots this season and has been highly efficient at making sure the attempts are on target. Hull City are weak against headers thanks to a short back line and have already conceded one goal that way last gameweek against Manchester City. In addition, the Tigers have allowed an astonishing 17 corner kicks in just three matches this season. Both of these tactics play right into Frazier Campbell’s arsenal as Manchester City can attest to.
Andreas Weimann has been active up front taking six shots so far this season, enough to be in the top-20 of that category. This week, he gets to take on a Newcastle team that allowed four goals the last time they played away from home. In fact, only three teams were worse than Newcastle last season when it came to preventing goals away from home. There should be plenty of opportunities for Aston Villa to score goals this week and Weimann could play a big part in all of it.