E Ratings update: Championship, 28 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.

2016-12-27-ch-sparklines

You can see how each match played out here.

Brighton overtook Newcastle at the top of the ratings table, with the Magpies’ defeat to Sheffield Wednesday decisive. Anyone whose followed the Owls’ fortunes in the model this season won’t be surprised that they were able to defeat the title favourites – they’re now third in the ratings themselves.

At the bottom, Rotherham’s mini-renaissance continues but it may be a while before they’re no longer the division’s worst-rated side.

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:

2016-12-27-ch-probabilities

Brighton have taken the lead in the title race – promotion appears to be theirs to lose – but Newcastle still look very likely to join them in the final top two.

Three of the play-off places have probable occupants but the fourth is very much up for grabs – Leeds, Reading and Fulham look set to tussle over it as it stands.

At the sharp end, Rotherham’s survival chances increased ever so slightly but they remain strong relegation favourites for the time being. Wigan – the team they defeated – are now more likely than not to join them, with Blackburn and QPR also in danger.

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.

2016-12-27-ch-promotion

It remains a two horse race for the title at the moment, even with a bite taken out of Newcastle’s chances. Sheffield Wednesday defeated them and are the chief beneficiaries, but more of the same is required before anyone is likely to break the duopoly at the top.

Now let’s look at the relegation battle:

2016-12-27-ch-relegation

Rotherham’s win over Wigan did more to dent the Latics’ hopes than to boost the Millers’ but they are slightly less likely to go down than this time last week.

Blackburn looked unlucky in defeat and thanks to more comprehensive defeats for the likes of QPR their relegation chances actually dropped slightly.