E Ratings update: Championship, 10 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.


You can see how each match played out here.

Newcastle and Brighton remain a convincing “top two” despite the occasional blip.

Brentford have been looking steadily impressive for a while now so I expect them to start moving up the table soon.

Despite Aston Villa continuing their improved form under Steve Bruce, the model hasn’t been all that impressed by their attacking performances, which is why they’ve dropped.

Rotherham have definitely begun to make some improvements, but whether it will be enough remains to be seen.

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:


The two-horse-race-iness of the top end of the Championship persists with wins for Newcastle and Brighton keeping them neck and neck.

With Sheffield Wednesday and Derby (whose Brian Clough derby with Nottingham Forest hadn’t taken place when this was written) the only two other sides with a better than 50% chance of making the play-offs, the promotion race looks to have plenty of excitement left in it.

Rotherham‘s win obviously hasn’t erased the effects of their horrible season in one fell swoop, but there’s a bit more daylight visible next to the red bar now. Blackburn and Wigan remain likeliest to join them in League 1 as it stands.

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.


An unlucky-looking defeat for Sheffield Wednesday and Derby‘s non-participation in the Saturday games sees both lose ground to the victorious top two, who are almost inseparable at the moment.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:


As mentioned above, a single win doesn’t change much for Rotherham, but there remains time to turn things around. The team they defeated, QPR, are lurching closer to the drop zone.

Blackburn saw their survival chances improve slightly as they were impressive despite their defeat on Saturday.