Managers whose teams begin the season extremely well are always keen to play down expectations, while those at the other end of the spectrum are similarly eager to dismiss the notion they are in trouble with so much time to turn things around.
After five games of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign fans of Manchester City, Liverpool, West Ham and Stoke will be trying not to get too carried away or anxious for example.
However, an examination of the top-flight annals should have Potters fans breaking out in cold sweats and those interested in well-informed longer-term investment backing Mark Hughes’ side’s demise come May.
Over the past 10 seasons, six of the clubs that were propping up the table after five games played across the board, ended up relegated.
That list begins with Newcastle last term, and features QPR, West Ham, Portsmouth, Derby and Sheffield United.
Stoke’s current crop of players may seem too good to sink on paper, but this is a heavy statistical anvil weighing around the neck of our joint 5/2 fourth favourites in the relegation market.
While Hughes clearly has his work cut out to rescue the situation, fans of West Ham (8/1) and Sunderland (5/6) do not get off too lightly either.
At least one of the bottom three after five games have dropped out of the top flight in the past decade.
On three occasions – and twice in the last four editions of the Premier League – that number increases to two out of three, while back in 2006/07, the full quota of danger zone occupants ended up in the second tier, when Watford and Charlton joined the aforementioned Blades.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.