Anyone wishing to argue how Hull City’s start to the campaign has been more impressive than any of their Premier League rivals’ has firm foundations upon which they can build their case.
After failing to add any new faces to the first-team so far and losing one of their star players from the squad that won promotion via the Championship play-offs last term, the Tigers, wracked by off-field turmoil, were cast as top-flight doormats to be trampled mercilessly by their top-flight foes, who would then toss them aside in May.
Such was everyone’s certainty about Hull’s demise, the bookies were offering just 65/100 about them being relegated this term.
Fast forward three games, Mike Phelan’s men have swollen to a fraction shy of evens for the drop at 95/100, with Burnley now deemed the most likely to endure Premier League relegation at 3/4.
The catalyst for this drift is that Hull won their first two divisional battles of the campaign and came so very close to making it seven points from nine last weekend, had it not been for an injury-time Marcus Rashford strike in Manchester United’s 1-0 KCOM win.
But while their surprisingly strong start does warrant an inflating of their relegation price, does that mean punters who still expect to see the Tigers playing Championship football next term should lump on now?
There’ll still be plenty who believe their threadbare squad will never be able to sustain these standards across the season and, subsequently, hammered a dent into their nest egg with these refreshed odds.
However, potential investors looking to follow their lead best be warned that no promoted team this decade has returned from whence they came after just one season of top-tier soccer having pocketed six points from three games.
Since 2010/11, the highest total any of their predecessors had posted by this stage was four.
Across the past three seasons Norwich and Cardiff both sat on as many points from three matches, yet neither managed to survive.
Hull are boosted by an extra two points though and, if they were to wind up 18th or lower after 38 games, they’d become just the second relegated side this decade to do so having accumulated six points or more from their opening trio of matches.
Wolves had clocked seven by this point in 2011/12 before a dramatic implosion led to them collecting just 16 more across the remaining 35 matches.
Based on this evidence, the Tigers are as good as safe.