At its peak a daunting 10 points separated the runaway pairing of West Brom and Leeds United and by the time Christmas came around, the best of the rest was Sheffield Wednesday.
The deficit by then was down to eight and it is perhaps telling that despite a run of four defeats in their last five matches that has seen them tumble to 10th place, Wednesday’s gap to the top two is still worth only 10 points.
As per the investigations of Owls About Stat’s Peter Løhmann, the statistics suggest the division is as tight as it has been since 1998.
Only 10 points separate third and 14th place, with Wednesday’s tally of 42 placing them within two results of 16th placed Reading (36) and in-form Fulham (48), who sit third.
And the good news for Garry Monk’s men is that there is a precedent for teams sat 10th after 28 matches going up – though only two have done so through the play-offs in the last 21 seasons – with no team placed lower having achieved promotion in that time.
The Owls boss admitted after the draw at Derby in December that he had used the performances of the Owls’ previous two failed seasons as a marker for the progress his side are making in the early months of his reign and in that regard they measure-up favourably, 10 points and seven places in the league better off than at this stage in 2017/18 and seven points and five places better off than last time out.
And in terms of points difference they fall just short of the play-off qualification seasons under Carlos Carvalhal, which after 28 matches saw them placed sixth on both occasions on 46 points in 2015/16 and 45 points the following season.
Monk said after that Derby draw: “In the past couple of years, we have been nowhere near it.
“From the bottom half to the top half, it will be tight, probably until the last month of the season. That is the way it is going to be.”