E Ratings update: Championship, 6 Nov 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 – has 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.


Newcastle and Brighton remain the standout performers, although not to the extent that a resurgent Sheffield Wednesday or Derby couldn’t overtake them over the course of the season.

Strong performances from Burton and Fulham make them the biggest risers while an uncomfortably close encounter with Blackburn sees Aston Villa fall the furthest in an incredibly congested middle section.

Rotherham remain last by some distance, although they look to have stopped the rot in recent weeks after several encouraging performances. Recovering from their present situation will take some doing, however.

You can see how each match played out here.

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:


Newcastle and Brighton remain strong favourites to secure automatic promotion: comfortably high in the ratings and with sizeable cushions in the league table.

Derby‘s resurgence currently makes them the likeliest to complete the eventual top six, although the table remains fluid enough for the play-off picture to change dramatically between now and the end of the season.

The only club that the model deems incapable of recovering to finish in the play-off picture is Rotherham, whose percentage chance of survival remain in the single digits. Wigan and Blackburn – themselves beaten this weekend – look their most probable companions in the final bottom three, but not to a compelling extent.

What’s changed?

As the graph above only gives the latest snapshot, I wanted to show what effect the latest round of matches has had on the bigger picture. Below I’ve added a few simple graphics to show how the promotion and relegation contests have changed since the previous round of games.

First of all, let’s look at the automatic promotion race. The filled green bars are the current probabilities (and should match the greenest bars above), with the hollow bars showing how each team’s chances looked after the last previous of games.


Wins for the top two and not the three teams beneath them have tipped the automatic promotion battle even further in the incumbents’ favour. Barring a collapse from either Newcastle or Brighton, coupled with one of the sides beneath them putting together a hitherto elusive winning run, the play-off race will be the chief source of suspense in the Championship for a while yet.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


This looks to have been a week in which none of the teams at the bottom did themselves any favours, with the seven seven likeliest clubs to be relegated all seeing their chances of doing so increase. They collected just three points between them, with two of these three coming from Forest’s draw with QPR and the third being acquired rather fortunately by Barnsley as they narrowly survived a Burton onslaught.