For those tonight anxiously seeking a straw to cling to, mutter a silent thanks for the Premier League fixture computer.
If you wanted to pick anyone to play at home next weekend after events at Craven Cottage this afternoon it would be QPR.
To lose your opening away game of the new season 5-0 is bad enough; to lose your opening home game of the season 5-0 to a Swansea City is a rare saving grace to Norwich’s 5-0 defeat by Fulham.
Enter week three of the campaign with three points on the board from two games and the world will look an altogether different place from that it does tonight.
The 6.30 train out of Liverpool Street this evening will be the setting for many a disappointed post-mortem as Chris Hughton’s opening game in charge of the Canaries ended in an alarming heap.
For the record, the trouble began a little after the 20-minute mark when Damien Duff poked Fulham ahead after a raking through-ball from John Arne Riise caught City with pants down.
At which point, enter Fulham’s new Croatian striker Mladen Petric. Signed on a free from Hamburg SV, he marked his Whites debut with a forceful header off a Duff corner to double Fulham’s advantage before the break, before compounding Michael Turner’s debut woes by playing a 25-yard in-off the new Canary centre-half to end the contest at 3-0 nine minutes after the restart.
There was one killer fact – rare is a team that gets anything out of a game when they concede one goal four minutes before the break and another within ten minutes of the restart. Key goals at key moments in a match.
Number four went to Alex Kacaniklic off a Petric backheel; five was a Stevie Sidwell penalty three minutes from the end after Hugo Rodellaga tumbled over on a Turner challenge.
New England keeper John Ruddy spared City a few more blushes in terms of a repeat of that other, infamous Craven Cottage scoreline, whilst Bradley Johnson’s second-half drive offered the travelling faithful a rare moment of good cheer.
Otherwise it was one to swiftly forget – that and one for the lurking Match of the Day pundits to pick apart later.
“When you don’t put in a good enough performance particularly against a team as good as these there’s every chance you’re going to come unstuck,” the City chief told the club’s official website afterwards.
“But you certainly don’t expect to concede five goals – especially on the first game of the season.”
He has a Spanish international full-back to slam into that back four – as well as big decisions to make as to how to feed skipper Grant Holt with the kind of service he needs to thrive on.
Throwing Robert Snodgrass and Anthony Pilkington out wide and deploying Andrew Surman through the middle off Holt didn’t particularly do the trick.
Had Wes Hoolahan enjoyed an injury-free week, he might have been that much nearer a start; whilst at home, Hughton may well run a horse more befitting for a home course and revert to a straight-forward 4-4-2 in which a James Vaughan or a Steve Morison features up top.
And the fervent hope has to be that the other ‘No10’ in the building – Jacob Butterfield – is, indeed, all that he is cracked up to be. And, likewise, that QPR arrive in Norfolk still in shell-shock from their own opening day disaster.
“You have to remember that it’s the first game of the season, we’ve all been there before,” said Hughton, whose managerial and coaching nous will be needed a-plenty this week.
“Whether it’s at the start of the season the middle or at the end defeats are defeats and you have to be able to bounce back from them and learn from them.”
And learn quickly, one might add. Before the fears and the doubts really start to gather pace.