The difference between first place and ninth place was just 11 points coming into the weekend.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the gap between the relegation zone and 10th place was only seven points, showcasing the bunched up table as the halfway mark approaches.
With every club playing three matches by the end of next weekend, some separation may finally begin to develop.
It's hard to imagine the table remaining so closely contested throughout, but the race for the title is certainly setting up to become intense.
Matchday 17 features several intriguing fixtures, including Arsenal against Chelsea to wrap up the week. So let's check out how the table is shaping up for Week 18, which will be updated as the matches go final.
|16||West Bromwich Albion||17||3||7||7||16|
|17||West Ham United||17||3||5||9||14|
Here's a list of the matchday's results:
|Date||Home Club||Road Club||Score|
|Dec. 21||Crystal Palace||Newcastle||0-3|
|Dec. 21||Fulham||Manchester City||2-4|
|Dec. 21||Manchester United||West Ham||3-1|
|Dec. 21||Stoke||Aston Villa||2-1|
|Dec. 21||West Brom||Hull||1-1|
Luis Suarez was outstanding once again, scoring twice in the first half as Liverpool posted their fourth straight Premier League victory. The in-form Uruguayan striker even set a record in the process, as noted by the BPL:
RECORD Luis Suarez's second goal v Cardiff was his 10th #BPL goal in December; He's the first player to hit double figures in a single month— Premier League (@premierleague) December 21, 2013
Manchester City, which entered the weekend in fourth place, were able to keep pace as they scored twice late to beat Fulham. The Sky Blues were dominant in the first half, but lost a 2-0 lead in part due to a fluky Vincent Kompany own goal before striking back to get all three points.
City's rival, Manchester United, continued their trend of progress with a convincing win over West Ham. They received first-half tallies from Danny Welbeck and Adnan Januzaj and never looked back, avoiding the drama that's followed them around for most of the campaign.
The other result of note saw Newcastle keeping up their strong pursuit of a European berth with a road victory over Crystal Palace. The Magpies aren't receiving much attention, but it's becoming tougher to ignore their success with each passing week.
Elsewhere around the Premier League, Stoke had to grind out a narrow win over Aston Villa, West Brom got a late equalizer from Matej Vydra to draw Hull and Sunderland and Norwich were unable to find the net in a lackluster scoreless draw.
And there are still key matches to come.
Tottenham and Southampton are both in the thick of the race for European spots.
They can't afford any poor stretches given the nature of the table right now. Any matchday where a side walks away with no points is a major setback because it's almost guaranteed a club in the immediate vicinity is adding three points.
Spurs are also playing for interim manager Tim Sherwood.
Paul Doyle of The Guardian passed along comments from the caretaker boss, who talked about the difficulty of proving he deserves the job on a permanent basis, while also being realistic about where the club stands:
"From what I've been doing and my experience, I think I'd be a long-term appointment but I'm realistic enough to know that you can't just lose games," he said. "I don't want to insult the intelligence of the punters by saying: 'Don't worry, I'll turn it around in a minute.' They ain't got time for that. It's about the club sticking with you. I think Brendan [Rodgers] is a good example of that. He's done it at Liverpool. The sun wasn't always shining there but it seems like he's turned it around now and is doing very well."
Everton will look to continue their strong run of form against Swansea.
The Toffees only have one loss, whereas every other club has at least three. If they turned some of those early draws into wins they could be atop the table.
Finally, the matchday will wrap up on Monday with the marquee match as Chelsea travel to Emirates Stadium for a clash with Arsenal. The outcome of that encounter will have a major impact on the table in the short term and probably the long term as well.