League 2 permutations: 4 Feb 2017

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.


The top of the table is pretty boring this weekend with, none of the top three sides going anywhere for now. However it’s all up for grabs in the play-off zone where three sides can force their way in at Wycombe‘s expense and the Chairboys themselves could rise all the way to fourth.

At the bottom Newport are stuck in the relegation zone for now but Leyton Orient can leapfrog either Accrington or Notts County to escape it.

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.


With Wycombe hosting highly-rated Portsmouth they don’t stand a great chance of climbing higher but even a point should be sufficient to fend off challenges from beneath.

Leyton Orient also have a tough home game against third-placed Carlisle, but a draw could be enough to take them out of the bottom two if the teams above them lose, so their chances of doing so are around 50:50.