Sunderland have made an excellent start to the new League One campaign, and after nine third-tier outings, The Black Cats sit at the top of the table.
Lee Johnson’s side have picked up 22 points this time out, in the form of seven wins, a draw, and a loss, with their sole defeat coming in a 1-0 loss away to Burton Albion on matchday three.
Remaining unbeaten in their latest six matches, Johnson will be hopeful that his side can maintain their early dominance, but he will be fully aware of how difficult the next two tests could prove to be.
Playing six of their opening nine games at home, their next two matches come away from home soil, with trips to Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth approaching.
Despite the pair not firing as most would have expected, they are both sides who possess excellent talent and should emerge as tough opponents for the confident Wearsiders.
Have Sunderland ever been involved in any of these 18 scenarios?
Here, we take a look at three early trends we have seen thus far when looking at how Sunderland have started the campaign.
Beating the promotion hopefuls
Sunderland have beaten the likes of Wigan Athletic, MK Dons, Wycombe Wanderers, and Bolton Wanderers this season, displaying that they are certainly the team to beat.
It has not just been a case of smash and grabs either, with Sunderland fully deserving of these victories against sides who most would expect to be challenging for promotion come May.
The two games that Sunderland have dropped points in have come against sides who are operating in the mid-table region at present, and teams who are not likely to trouble the top-six this season in Fleetwood Town and Burton.
To win League One, a side must be equally as strong against the top sides as they are against the sides who are not expected to be in and around the promotion hunt.
Turning The Stadium of Light into a fortress
As mentioned before, Sunderland have played six of their opening nine games at The Stadium of Light thus far, meaning only a third of their games have come away from home.
The Black Cats have been devastatingly ruthless on home soil, winning all six of their games in the north-east.
Sunderland have also conceded just three goals in those six games, scoring 14 times in the process.
The return of fans has certainly boosted the players and manager alike, but it is now about maintaining those levels of performance at home, and perhaps improving their from on the road.
Goals coming from across the pitch
The early form of Ross Stewart is one reason to be excited for what remains of the season, but fans should be equally as impressed that goals are seemingly coming from everywhere.
The usual suspects in Carl Winchester and Aidan McGeady have already scored goals this season, but a total of eight different players have opened their account.
Bailey Wright and Luke O’Nien got onto the scoresheet against Cheltenham Town on Tuesday, with Leon Dajaku also netting.
The Black Cats are two goals shy of MK Dons who have scored the most this season, but in the goalscoring department, there are no issues at all to report on.