League 1 permutations: 26 Nov 2016

What’s possible

Here are the highest and lowest possible positions that each club can occupy after the forthcoming round of 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.


Scunthorpe‘s healthy points cushion renders them uncatchable until next week at the earliest, with the three clubs beneath them jostling for position.

The five-point gap between Bradford and Rochdale limits how much the play-off picture can change, but anyone in the rest of the top half can barge into the top six tomorrow.

The bottom half of the table is less fluid, with five clubs battling not to be the two who join Chesterfield and Shrewsbury in the bottom four come Saturday evening.

What’s likely

The above shows what’s mathematically possible but doesn’t make any allowances for what’s likely to happen, so I’ve come up with a second graphic that uses my E Ratings prediction model (used to simulate the forthcoming round of 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.


The three sides immediately beneath Scunthorpe all look likelier than not to remain in their current configuration, with Bolton seemingly the most mobile.

Rochdale will have a tough job holding onto fifth place given that they’re away this weekend and so many teams are able to capitalise on a slip, although there’s a 75% chance that they’ll remain in the play-offs.

MK Dons need to win at Coventry in order to move out of the bottom four, which means that they’re more likely to stay in the relegation zone than escape it for the time being.