E Ratings update: Championship, 3 Dec 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.

ch-sparklines-2016-12-03

You can see how each match played out here.

While both Newcastle and Brighton have seen their ratings plateau lately they remain the two most impressive-looking sides overall, with Derby and Sheffield Wednesday their only realistic challengers at the moment.

Fulham and Nottingham Forest have both climbed three places and have been improving for a while now, so appear on course for a top half finish as things stand.

Rotherham remain a distance last place in the ratings, although at least it looks as though they’ve stopped getting worse.

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:

ch-probabilities-2016-12-03

The current top two of Newcastle and Brighton are still by far the likeliest to secure automatic promotion, with the rest of the top six still relatively wide open.

At the bottom, Rotherham‘s fate looks all but certain but the other two relegation spots look pretty escapable. Wigan and Blackburn are the current favourites but both retain a better than 50% chance of surviving as things stand.

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.

ch-promotion-2016-12-03

Newcastle’s second successive defeat has seen them fall slightly behind Brighton – it looks like the Seagulls’ remaining fixtures are more winnable and this gives them a narrow edge.

Both Sheffield Wednesday and Derby kept the pressure on with wins that increase their chances, although they’ll surely require further slips from the two favourites in order to boost their chances much further.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:

ch-relegation-2016-12-03

Rotherham remain near-certainties for the drop but there’s plenty of jostling in the battle to avoid the other two relegation places.

Wigan’s win over Huddersfield on Monday has boosted their prospects more than they were harmed by the subsequent narrow defeat to Derby, putting them almost neck-and-neck with Blackburn.

The inconsistent form of others outside the relegation zone is keeping things interesting, with wins for Burton and Barnsley pulling them towards safety at others’ expense.