Aston Villa may be down in the dumps after their 2-0 defeat to QPR, but they remain as long as short as 7/50 to cheat Premier League relegation this term.
Six sides are shorter in the betting for the drop than Paul Lambert’s men, who are a 4/1 shot, and with good reason.
Despite falling to their fifth successive defeat without scoring at Loftus Road the reasons for positivity are manifold.
The Villans’ points total after nine games is the same as last season.
At this stage last term they had ten points from an identical three wins, one draw and five defeats – they’d been shutout on just one fewer occasion too.
And get this. The season in 2012/13 Lambert’s callow troops were worse off after nine outings, having won just once and they still avoided the drop!
Four of their five successive defeats to nil have come against the 2013/14 top five.
Things will be a hell of a lot easier for quite a long time, with Tottenham and Southampton by far their toughest opponents on the bill of fare until Manchester United visit Villa Park just before Christmas.
Christian Benteke is one game closer to match fitness.
Lambert suspects the Belgian behemoth is six or seven games from optimum condition.
However, the hard goal-barren yards endured now will all be worth it when the real, 34-goals-in-67-games-for-the-club Benteke re-emerges like a glorious butterfly.
Villa’s visit to Loftus Road was the first time they’ve bossed possession all season.
It may have been frustrating to see them unable to eke a scoring opportunity from so much ball-hogging,.
Yet the Birmingham-side’s 65 per cent orb ownership was a positive nonetheless, suggesting they at least have the platform upon which to create.
The Holt End’s claret and blue darlings are 12/5 to overcome a Tottenham outfit navel gazing with their own struggles after defeat to Newcastle next time out.