It’s been years since I’ve seen a race this tight in the English top flight, which mostly would have been reduced to a four-way, even two-way, contest by now.

But no, eight teams are within striking distance of Premier League leaders Tottenham and Liverpool with 25 points apiece after 12 matches.

Aston Villa is at 10th place with 18 points, but if it wins its two games on hand, then it would just be a point behind the league leaders.

Even with four losses and no draws, Leicester City has managed to stay within the top four at third, its defeats coming at the hands of Fulham, Liverpool, West Ham and Aston Villa, while holding big wins against giants Manchester City and Arsenal.

One cannot dismiss Leicester at this stage, considering the team achieved the unthinkable and lifted the trophy only five seasons ago.

Another surprise is Southampton at fourth spot with 23 points, but unlike Leicester, it hasn’t won yet against any of the traditional big names this season.

But remember, only three seasons ago, the Saints were flirting with relegation and were a mere three points away from a trip back to the second-tier Championship League, so finding itself in a lofty position at this stage is in itself an achievement.

Chelsea FC, though, is looking to break into the top four and is just a point behind Southampton, but with 20 points each, so are West Ham, Everton and United, which has a game on hand.

At ninth spot with 19 points with a game on hand, Messi-less Manchester City’s title run is far from hopeless.

Arsenal, though, are the true underachievers this season as the Gunners are languishing at 15th place with a paltry 13 points, and with only 15 goals scored after 12 matches seem to be running out of ammo.

Still, the table could look a whole lot different after Matchday 13.

Arsenal vs. Southampton on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Emirates Stadium could be a deal breaker for either club.

However, Liverpool vs. Tottenham at Anfield on the same day is the game to watch, as the winner between the season’s top two clubs would gain a massive psychological edge going into the mid-season break.