Survival by stalemate is a method of relegation avoidance that lacks the heroic qualities required to make a Hollywood-grade ‘Great Escape’ story, but, fortunately for Sunderland supporters, it gets results.
Point by point the Black Cats draw their way clear of danger, the latest instalment coming in last weekend’s bagel bonanza at home to West Brom.
This goalless encounter was the 13th match Gus Poyet’s men have contested in which the spoils have been shared this season.
It equates to half of their Premier League outings to date and doubles up as the highest total of tied games in the top flight after 26 games this decade.
Sitting in 16th, the Wearsiders are perched perilously above the drop zone – three points clear of 18th-placed Burnley to be exact – but the table below will ease the twitching nerves of the town’s worry-mongers.
These figures show how many honours-even affairs the division’s most prolific drawers had clocked up after 26 games and where they ended up finishing.
While Sunderland are not guaranteed to be the division’s top drawers, they have three more than any of their peers and look well-placed to claim this ‘accolade’ at present.
Encouragingly for Poyet and co, their north east neighbours Newcastle are the only side to have been relegated since the millennium’s turn having amassed the most all-square encounters in a single season, with none drawing more than 11 enduring a demotion across the timeframe in question.
Birmingham split the points on a staggering 15 occasions en route to relegation in 2010/11, but they weren’t able to stand up to Sunderland’s benchmark of 13 after 26 outings, falling one short.
These stats render any wager on the 7/2 about the Black Cats going down this season unwise, while simultaneously vindicating the desperately short 15/100 that they successfully draw their way to safety.