It’s derbies everywhere you look for Aston Villa at the moment, with the visit of West Brom followed by that of true nemeses Birmingham City three days later.
The first of the bragging-rights showdowns might have been expected to have the feeling of a preamble were it not for the pitch invasions and crowd trouble that marred the Baggies’ last visit to Villa Park
Tim Sherwood’s men have faced West Brom ten times since last they locked horns with the Blues, affording the latter duel a far greater significance.
With that sure-to-be explosive Capital One Cup outing on the horizon, this encounter could turn into a damp squib, especially if Tony Pulis has anything to do with it.
The Welshman’s arrival at the Hawthorns coincided with such an outbreak of stinginess that West Brom ended up keeping more Premier League clean sheets than any side bar Chelsea in 2014/15.
Clashes with the Stamford Bridge outfit and Manchester City (the team they beat to the title last term) aside, it’s a trend that has continued into this season.
Six all-competitions games into proceedings the Baggies have shut out four of their opponents and look a decent bet at 11/5 to do so once more at the home of their rivals.
Villa have mustered six goals across their opening five Premier League games, but have done little to mark themselves out as a particular danger to the clean sheet.
Own goals, penalties and long-range efforts have comprised the majority of their scoring strikes so far, reason enough to think they can be stifled.
Having won just three times in 11 league away games under Pulis it remains more doubtful that Albion can claim the victory.
As such, the 6/1 about a 0-0 correct score in the fixture could also be a prudent ploy, as well as one of the most thrill-a-minute bets going as long as it lasts.