12 - The lowest any top-flight side has been at Christmas and still gone onto win the title is 12th (Liverpool 1981-82). Recovery.But in 1981 Liverpool was only 9 points off first place (and yet 12th). Parity.
At Christmas 2011 there are only 2 teams within 9 points (Man U and Spurs). I have emailed the excellent Opta guys with a request for the record points-behind-at-Christmas. I will report back.
REPORTING BACK . . . From Opta:
The record is 13 points by Arsenal in 1997/98. Only two other teams (Liverpool 1981/82, 9 pts and Man Utd 95/96, 10 pts) have ever closed a gap of at least nine points, so it's looking like a two-horse race...Thanks Opta!