Sunderland appear to be digging themselves another early hole, and manager David Moyes hopes his club can finally claim their first win Monday night against Everton at the Stadium of Light.
Last season the Black Cats failed to collect three points until matchday 10 - a 3-0 win over Newcastle United in the Tyne-Wear derby - but Moyes hopes it doesn't take that long this time as he faces one of his former clubs. The Wearsiders are also aiming to avoid losing their first two home matches for the first time since 2013 when they opened that campaign with four consecutive setbacks.
Sunderland (0-2-1) struggled in defeats to Middlesborough and Manchester City before earning their only point with a 1-1 draw against Southampton. Jermain Defoe opened the scoring from the spot 10 minutes from time, but the Saints found an equaliser five minutes later through Jay Rodriguez.
Moyes was pleased to collect the point away from home, but also lamented his side's inability to close out the victory.
"I'm happy to get a point, but disappointed we didn't get three and that we couldn't see the game out." he told the club's official website. "Jordan Pickford knows he could have done better for the goal, but apart from that I think he did very well throughout the game."
Sunderland could hand out some debuts as Victor Anichebe faces one of his former teams after completing a loan move. New signing Didier N'Dong, who arrives from Lorient for a club-record fee of £13.6 million, might also be ready.
Everton (2-1-0) are off to an unbeaten start, including a 1-0 result over Stoke City prior to the international break thanks to a Shay Given own goal. Manager Ronald Koeman has to be pleased with his club's beginning, but sees its potential in the forward lines. He also thinks striker Romelu Lukaku is ready to take off after nabbing a brace for Belgium in the World Cup qualifiers.
"He is an important player because, normally, he is the team's top goal scorer," the Dutch boss said. "He showed that with the Belgian national team this week. I hope he scores his next goal on Monday. Strikers always need goals because it's important for their confidence.
"Don't forget he had a difficult preseason, joining the group late. I think now he is close to his best level and we will see that."
The Toffees are aiming to keep clean sheets for the first time since February, when they collected a pair of 3-0 wins over Newcastle United and Stoke City. If they are to keep the Black Cats off the score sheet, they'll have to keep Defoe bottled up, something Koeman is astutely aware of.
"Defoe is very dangerous," he added. "He is always finding space with good movements. If he has a chance, normally it's a goal, we need to prepare for him because he is showing his productivity as a striker. But it's not just Defoe - if we can stop the midfielders passing to him then we don't have that problem."
Both teams beat each other at home in dominating fashion last season. Sunderland won 3-0 at the Stadium of Light in May, while Everton prevailed 6-2 in November.