E Ratings update: Championship, 14 Jan 2017

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.
2017-01-14-ch-sparklinesYou can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here.

Brighton re-overtook Newcastle at the top of the ratings table despite losing while the Magpies won. This is due to their defeat looking unfortunate – they out-created Preston overall – while their title rivals appeared fortunate to have taken all three points at Brentford.

Both continue to look far more dangerous than anyone else, although Fulham‘s ongoing surge shows no signs of slowing down after another impressive win. They overtook a Derby side yet to convince since Steve McClaren returned and could easily move past Sheffield Wednesday next week.

QPR‘s convincing defeat of Reading saw both sides move three places – an effect magnified by the Royals being the home side. Long-time readers will know that the model is deeply suspicious of Reading’s promotion credentials (which is a bit of an understatement given the graphic above implies that they should be at the opposite end of the table), but I’m open to the idea that the shot-based data might be missing something about the way that Jaap Stam has them playing. Time will tell I suspect.

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 top two of Brighton and Newcastle still have a pretty firm grip on the automatic promotion places, with the play-off race looking a far likelier source of drama.

Three clubs – Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds and Huddersfield – look fairly well established as potential play-off participants, which leaves the final spot to be fought over by the chasing pack (assuming the model is correct to assume that Reading will fall away).

At the bottom it still looks pretty likely that Rotherham are going down, although their latest win and improved performances generally are chipping away at the red bar. Burton‘s defeat narrowed the gap to nine points (effectively 10 given the gulf in goal difference), but the Millers would probably have preferred it to have been inflicted by a side outside the relegation battle.