Championship permutations: 4-5 Nov 2016
Here are the highest and lowest possible positions that each club can occupy after this weekend’s fixtures. I’ve drawn lines under the automatic promotion and play-off spots, mid-table and the last spot above the relegation zone on both “axes” for ease of reference.
These graphics are explained here, but in a nutshell I crunch through every possible combination of results to work out how far it’s mathematically possible for each club to rise and fall.
Brighton are the only team capable of deposing Newcastle at the division’s summit this weekend, although this would require a six-goal swing in their favour and therefore isn’t very likely given that the Magpies are at home and the Seagulls away.
Anyone down to Fulham in 11th is capable of starting next week in the top six, although the Cottagers can also fall as far as 16th if results go against them.
It’s a big weekend for Wolves, Burton and Derby, all of whom can finish it in either the top half or the relegation zone depending on what transpires.
Rotherham remain welded to the bottom of the table for now, with six points separating them from Blackburn and eight between them and the safety of 21st.
The above shows what’s mathematically possible but doesn’t make any allowances for what’s likely to happen, so I’m trialling a second graphic that uses my E Ratings prediction model (which I used to simulate the weekend’s games thousands of times) to assign some probabilities to all these potential changes.
It’s structured very similarly to the one above: the clubs are still listed in the same order as the current league table down the side and the dividing lines are all in the same place, but now across each row is the percentage chance of them moving to other positions in the table. As above, green indicates a rise, red a drop and grey staying put. The darker the red or green, the higher the probability. If there’s no number in a square, it means that the club didn’t fill that position in any of the thousands of simulations I ran and is therefore very unlikely.
As I mentioned above, Brighton aren’t likely to overtake Newcastle this week due to the Magpies’ superior goal difference. It did happen in a very small number of simulations (six out of 10,000), so it’s not a ridiculous scenario: just a very improbable one.
With both Norwich and Huddersfield playing at home this weekend, the Canaries only have around a one-in-three chance (33%) of dislodging the Terriers from third.
Sheffield Wednesday – who have been underachieving based on their strong overall performance this season – look likely to rise this weekend (2+18+29+19=68%) with a winnable-looking home game against Ipswich.
Another club who have looked better than their league position are Cardiff, although they look more likely to fall than rise this weekend (42+13=55%) after a tough trip to St James’ Park.