After succumbing to the modest charms of Norwich City, Sunderland moved into odds-on territory for relegation.
Bookmakers sparked a widespread slashing of the Black Cats’ price to fall through the Premier League trapdoor this season, with bwin going 3/5.
But despite their 3-1 home defeat against a newly-promoted outfit, backing Dick Advocaat’s troops for the drop at this stage, or at any other for that matter, would be folly.
We may only be two weeks in, but Sunderland’s season is already taking a familiar shape.
Few sets of fans are so relentlessly punished by months upon months of turgid performances, before a mid-campaign managerial change reverses fortunes and steers the club clear of a fate their early-season showings undoubtedly deserved.
Judging from their opening results of the 2015/16 edition, this one will be no different.
Resounding beatings from two mediocre outfits are par for the course for the Black Cats once their saviour from the season prior embarks upon a first full campaign at the helm.
Gus Poyet came bearing fire extinguisher to douse the inferno ignited by Paolo Di Canio midway through the 2013/14 vintage, ultimately saving the club from demotion with four successive wins across their final five matches.
He then coaxed the side into a spoil-sharing stupor for the bulk of the next season, though a few notable losses were intermingled with the raft of single points speared; 8-0 at Southampton stands out alongside home defeats to relegated Hull and QPR.
It was a pattern the hapless Di Canio had replicated before him, coming late in the 2012/13 piece to beat Newcastle and Everton and halt a Championship-bound nosedive overseen by Martin O’Neill.
The Italian’s portfolio of setbacks the next season included relegated Fulham and an Ian Holloway schooled Crystal Palace before he was sent packing.
O’Neill’s Sunderland trajectory followed a similar trend; overhaul dismal form initially before falling in spectacular fashion after spending pre-season with the side.
The Ulsterman won five of his first six league matches after claiming Steve Bruce’s office in 2011/12, before guiding the club to the cusp of disaster before being dispensed with, paving the way for Di Canio to save the day.
Advocaat, it would seem, isn’t immune to the ailment of the modern day Black Cats boss either, meaning a punt on him being next Premier League manager to leave is far more likely to land than Sunderland going down.