Aston Villa are two points off the relegation zone, but they've escaped from worse positions in the past...
"Further positivity comes in the shape of Aston Villa's next nine fixtures too, with Man United at home the only opponent they’d expect to struggle against."
A perceived aversion to winning football matches is no reason at all to back Aston Villa for the drop this season, with the west midlanders rating a far better survival bet despite their current foul form.
Having failed to prevail in any of their previous eight outings, the Villans have slipped to 4.1 to be relegated from the Premier League for the first time, though the 4.216/5 lay price appears a shrewder wager.
Pre-Christmas dreariness is nothing new for fans of the claret-clad club, who are forging a niche for themselves in the art of deception. Masquerading as an outfit grotesquely unfit to grace the nation's top flight for the majority of the months running up to the festive season, before a New Year fortune reversal allows them off the chopping block, head intact, is one of their favourite tricks.
Villa's opening 12 games have yielded just 12 points and a frankly hilarious six goals, but this is nothing supporters haven't experienced before across Paul Lambert's regime. Last term, they were just three points better off, while they hadn't yet hit double figures by this stage in 2012/13.
Despite these toils in the early exchanges, both seasons resulted in survival by a comfortable enough five-point deficit.
The evil beings operating the fixture generator have done the Villans few favours in recent weeks, which is arguably the chief factor behind their alarming shortage of points.
Each of their previous nine foes besides QPR either finished in last season's top six, or are in there this time around. Such an intense period of daunting challenges was never likely to bring about much in a points capacity for a team forecast to be amongst those in the relegation mix this season.
What bodes well for Villa is that recent results insinuate they're over the worst of their bad spell.
Two points plundered against West Ham and Southampton - two of the more impressive outfits in the division this season, who were both in great form - are plaudit-worthy, while had Christian Benteke not been dismissed against Tottenham they could've had another, if not three prior to that.
Further positivity comes in the shape of their next nine fixtures too, with Man United at home the only opponent they'd expect to struggle against, or indeed who finished in the top half in 2013/14.
Leicester, Sunderland and Crystal Palace are all due at Villa Park between now and New Year's Day, presenting Villa with the opportunity to stockpile some points in the coming months.