League 2 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.


Luton‘s four-point advantage over Grimsby renders the top five a closed shop for the time being, but the rest of the he League 2 table remains wide open.

Everyone from 12th-placed Yeovil upwards is capable of edging into the play-off places this weekend while eight different clubs – from Colchester downwards – could start next week in bottom spot.

Stevenage have a particularly interesting weekend ahead: they could finish it in either the top half or the relegation zone.

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.


Carlisle have a relatively slim chance of overhauling Plymouth in top spot this weekend – they’d need to beat Mansfield at home and hope that struggling Morecambe can defeat the Pilgrims at the Globe Arena.

Despite an away trip to Crawley, Grimsby look likelier than not to remain in the play-off zone, while Crewe‘s chances of doing likewise are slimmer. The model suggests that there’s a 60:40 chance of the Railwaymen being turfed out of the top seven – they’re playing away this weekend while three of the five teams capable of leapfrogging them are at home.

Newport‘s chances of remaining in bottom spot are about the same given their tough trip to Blackpool, but there remain plenty of perfectly possible combinations of results which would see them escape from the bottom two once again.