The dawn of a new season brings with it hope and optimism, with supporters everywhere believing that the summer sun will forever shine on their chosen troops.
We have, however, reached winter and the chill in the air is beginning to freeze the ambitions of some unfortunate souls.
There is still a long way to go and a lot of points to play for, but struggles at this stage could be considered a sign of things to come.
The hectic festive period is no time to be feeling down on your luck, but the seemingly endless run of games does offer ample opportunity in which to turn the metaphorical corner and enter a New Year with renewed belief.
Who could most do with some festive cheer? Which sides have underperformed most in the Premier League during the opening stages of the 2014/15 campaign?
Jeff Stelling took a break from filming his alternative Christmas speech for the Carlsberg Fan Squad, released on Boxing Day, to discuss that issue with HITC Sport, and here is what he had to say: “For me, it’s got to be Liverpool and Spurs.
“Liverpool because it’s well documented that it hasn’t worked out well for Brendan Rodgers, but it certainly hasn’t worked out well for his signings. Consequently, they have had a desperately disappointing season, even if there are mitigating circumstances.
“Spurs, I’m a big fan of Mauricio Pochettino and what he did at Southampton and it just hasn’t fully translated yet to what they are doing at White Hart Lane. The signs are, though, that they are starting to buy into it. The younger players, Harry Kane and (Nabil) Bentaleb and Ryan Mason, they are beginning to build a team that believes in the sort of things that he’s doing.”
Stelling added on another of those yet to meet expectations, Hull City – with the Tigers currently languishing inside the relegation zone: “They spent big, really, by their standards anyway, people like Abel Hernandez and they backed Steve Bruce really well. I think it’s been a massively disappointing season for them.
“They got to the Cup final last season and you expected them to kick on, and they haven’t yet. But I would be staggered, absolutely staggered, if they were in the bottom three at the end of the season, or even in the relegation dogfight. I think they have got enough qualities to get clear.”
Spurs, for all of their inconsistencies, remain within four points of the top four and will believe that Champions League football remains a realistic target.
Liverpool find themselves in mid-table mediocrity at present, 12 months on from dreams of title success, and they desperately need to find some inspiration from somewhere – with it possible that the January transfer window will provide it.
Hull, meanwhile, are only two points away from getting their head back above water and the compact nature of life towards the bottom of the division means a few positive results could soon have them surging up the standings and feeling a lot better about themselves.
If Carlsberg did Christmas speeches…. Head to CarlsbergFanSquad.co.uk at midday on Boxing Day to see Jeff Stelling's ultimate review of the year. Click here for a sneak peek behind the scenes. Follow @CarlsbergFooty for Barclays Premier League ticket giveaways and more from the Carlsberg Fan Squad.