E Ratings update: League 1, 2 Oct 2016

Here is the latest update of the season to the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. The rating system is explained here, but in a nutshell it’s based on the combined quality of chances that clubs create and allow, rather than their results.

The attack rating broadly equates to how many goals’ worth of chances a team would create against an average opponent (so higher is better), with the defence rating equivalent to the chances they’d be expected to allow (so lower is better). The overall rating is the difference between the two – effectively the average expected goal difference per match – so a positive number is good and a negative one is bad.

The graphic below lists each club in descending order of their overall E Rating and shows how this – along with their individual attack and defence ratings – have changed over the past 30 league matches. The red and green arrows indicate how the overall rankings have moved in the past month and the numbers in brackets show the ranks for each team’s attack and defence ratings.

2016-10-02-l1-sparklines

Bradford remain clear at the top – their attack is gradually catching up with their formidable defence, while Millwall‘s ongoing nightmare start will surely see them overtaken in due course. The Lions’ performances haven’t actually been all that terrible: as we saw in the scatter graphics earlier, some leaky defending has been their undoing.

The ongoing shuffling in the middle of the ratings is no surprise in a division where only four points separate 7th from 21st in the league table.

Bury continue their rise up the rankings, although they’d be shooting up a lot faster if their defence was as impressive as their relentless attack. The Shakers have yet to face any of the current top eight away, so it’s too early to tell whether they can sustain their impressive start.

Respectable showings against Oxford and Peterborough have moved Southend off the bottom at Shrewsbury‘s expense, and ailing Oldham also look overtake-able on recent evidence.

Predicting the rest of the season

Below I’ve used each club’s current ratings and those of their remaining opponents to predict how the rest of the season could play out. Each of the remaining fixtures has been simulated thousands of times, using the current E Ratings to generate probabilities for where each club will finish.

This graphic shows the cumulative probability of where each club could end up, in descending order of average points won. You can think of the ordering of the teams down the left hand side as a “best guess” of the final league table, with the coloured bars showing the relative likelihood of each club ending up in a certain section of the table:

2016-10-02-l1-probabilities

Scunthorpe‘s three-point lead at the top of the division makes them second favourites behind Bradford for a top two spot at the moment. Despite some big wins this season, their attack rating is still relatively modest: if you check out the attack scatter graphic I posted earlier you’ll see that clinical finishing (considered less sustainable in the long run) has been a bigger factor than chance creation for them so far.

There are currently three clubs – Southend, Oldham and Shrewsbury – deemed to have a greater than 50:50 chance of finishing in the bottom four. Chesterfield are considered the likeliest occupants of the fourth relegation spot, although as for all of these observations there remains plenty of time for things to change.