Two clubs on very different trajectories meet in the EFL Championship this weekend as Leeds United head to St. Mary's to face Southampton.
Southampton currently sit 15th in the EFL Championship with three wins, one draw and four losses from their first eight games of the season.
The Saints, newly relegated from the Premier League, were heavily fancied for an immediate promotion back to England's first tier coming into this campaign and their opening few weeks of the season were indicative of a side worthy of such expectations as they went unbeaten in their first four games while playing a hugely attractive brand of football.
However, the excitement of Russell Martin's honeymoon period was short-lived as an abrupt and steep dip in form has seen them lose each of their last four games on the bounce.
Consecutive batterings at the hands of Sunderland, 5-0, and Leicester City, 1-4, preceded defeats against Ipswich Town, 0-1, and most recently Middlesbrough, 2-1, in what is a deeply concerning run of results.
Some might say the warning signs were already present in one or two of The Saints' early performances where they exhibited moments of defensive fragility while, despite their largely entertaining style of play, showed a habit of sinking into monotonous periods of repetitive and rudderless passing sequences that were all too predictable.
Southampton's defensive performances have been frankly schoolboy of late and unless Martin and co can find a way to tighten up their backline it feels unlikely they'll make good on their early season promise.
A win here would go some way to hauling them back on track but Saints fans should not hold their breath given the calibre of opponent standing in front of them.
Leeds United currently sit 6th in the EFL Championship with three wins, four draws and one loss from their first eight games of the season.
Leeds were a fairly divisive subject amongst pundits coming into this season's Championship campaign with few fancying them to make a run at the automatic promotion spots and many tipping them to finish outside of the play-off spots altogether.
However, after a slow start that that saw new manager Daniel Farke begin the two-pronged process of rehabilitating out of form players while attempting to mould them into a cohesive unit alongside a number of new recruits Leeds are finally starting to look like a serviceable side again.
They've lost only once so far this season but most of their positive early results came amidst unconvincing performances with points generally accrued as a result of a favourable gulf in individual talent, but Leeds' last three performances have seen a gradual deviation away from that and towards a more methodical and sustainable approach to games.
They've now taken seven points from their last three games but their most recent outing in particular, a 3-0 win over Watford, was a thorough 90 minute domination that saw Daniel Farke's men tear The Hornets apart in all phases of the game.
It was the performance the fans have been eagerly anticipating this season from a side whose talent on paper is second to none in this league. Its importance cannot be understated, either, as it looks to be the culmination of steady progression under Daniel Farke this season - a promising trajectory that stands in complete contrast to that of their opponents.
Leeds have been shambolic defensively for what feels like an age and the fact last weekend's result marked their fourth consecutive clean sheet could turn out to be a watershed moment for the Yorkshire side, and for Daniel Farke's tenure as manager, as rectifying what has hitherto been their achilles heel should prove to be the foundation of inevitable success given the wealth of attacking options at their disposal.
Time will only tell but Leeds are now unbeaten in their last six in the league having yet to consistently perform to a level anywhere close to their ceiling as a side and if last weekend is to be a harbinger of what's to come then the rest of the division is in big trouble.
For our Southampton vs. Leeds prediction, we're going for a 3-1 win for the away side.