Swansea have started 2014/15 like a recently-relieved greyhound and history suggests there’s nothing disingenuous about their 91/100 top-ten finish odds.
An unsustainably brilliant beginning, followed by a slow plateau into more mundane form, has long been the modus operandi of those making left-field incursions into the top tier’s upper echelons.
In recent campaigns Southampton, West Brom and Newcastle (twice) have all advertised the judiciousness of giving it everything from the gun.
Last term the Saints lost just once in the season’s first quarter (the nine games before November begun), winning five times and drawing thrice.
If they’d carried on accumulating points at that rate they’d have ended up in a goal-difference duel with Everton for fifth spot.
As it was they were still in seventh come the end of the eleventh month and slipped just one more place across the rest of the campaign, despite averaging a more modest 12 points in each of the remaining three quarters of 2013/14.
The season before it was West Brom who sprang from the brush like a pheasant hell-bent on cheating the blunderbuss.
Eighth after 38 games, it was exactly where they’d been stationed after the conclusion of the season’s first quarter.
A stellar November of four wins from five games gave them the cushion to absorb a losing streak of five in six around the turn of the year too.
The importance of the penultimate month of the year was underlined by Newcastle last term, with the Magpies’ own four victories from four fixtures providing the propulsion to insulate their top-half finish against an epic post-Christmas downer.
Swansea will do well to follow suit with trips to Everton and Manchester City scheduled alongside Arsenal’s visit to the Liberty Stadium in two months time.
Luckily they’ve started faster than either Southampton 2013/14 or West Brom 2012/13, with half the Saints’ first-quarter points total accumulated already.
With Southampton, Sunderland, Newcastle, Stoke and Leicester up in the next six games, they’ll have every chance of replicating the south coast club’s season-defining start.