After the first seven games of the season, Sunderland looked like a team destined to go down as Dick Advocaat lamented over their lack of quality following a dire start to the season.
The former Bolton Wanderers boss is renowned among Premier League observers as a survival expert, and so far during his tenure at the Stadium of Light he is illustrating exactly why.
As shown by the table provided by Opta below, since his arrival, Sunderland have picked up 20 points from 18 matches which betters four other sides over the same number of fixtures.
The Black Cats still remain in the bottom three, but they’ve managed to haul themselves closer to safety and last weekend’s 2-1 win over Manchester United took them to within one point of Norwich City.
The Canaries are in a rut, and it has allowed both Sunderland and Newcastle United to close in.
Steve McClaren has been the subject of plenty of criticism this season, but had it not been for a pretty woeful start to the season, the Magpies would be sitting closer to mid-table now.
Newcastle actually place 14th in the table since Allardyce’s arrival at Sunderland, ahead of Swansea City and Crystal Palace who have both endured desperate runs over the past few months.
Swansea’s change in manager has given them a lift of late, yet Palace have picked up just three points from their last nine games and now find themselves looking nervously over their shoulder.
The Eagles have picked up 17 points since Allardyce was appointed 18 games ago, suggesting Alan Pardew’s men have been in relegation form for just under half a season now.
Fortunately for the South London club, their excellent early season form means another two victories between now and May to add to their current 32 points should be enough to stay up.