Point spread GIFs: Championship, 5 Feb 2017

It feels like a good time to dust off the animated GIFs I use to track how clubs are faring in the promotion, play-off and relegation battles.

These are explained in full here but put simply they show how each club’s points tally is changing relative to teams in previous seasons. There are three graphics – one for each race – which cycle through all the clubs involved in the order of their current league position.

Automatic promotion

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Newcastle and Brighton are unsurprisingly looking pretty healthy by historical standards. In fact nobody has ever failed to win promotion in the 21-year history of the current league structure with 61 points or more from 29 games (the Seagulls’ current tally), although Bolton ended up 3rd after having 60 at this stage in 2000/01.

Both Reading and Huddersfield would be looking decent value for a top two finish if the current incumbents weren’t storming so far ahead – both have tallies which compare favourably to previous second-place finishers.

Play-offs

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The good news for the four teams trailing in the top two’s wake is that they all look to be on course to protect their play-off berths. All look to be faring better than average compared to teams finishing sixth under the current structure, although Norwich‘s impressive recent recovery makes them look credible challengers and Derby shouldn’t be written off either.

The field looks to be narrowing however with Preston and Birmingham struggling to maintain a convincing pace. Aston Villa and Brentford now need a historically good recovery to make the play-offs this season – nobody has managed it from their current position in the last 21 campaigns.

Relegation

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For what it’s worth I’m not trying to insult any clubs by including them here – I just wanted to put every team in at least one of the three graphics this time, as in future I’ll start to weed out those who aren’t likely participants in any of the races.

Bristol City and Burton are looking a lot healthier now than they did a few weeks ago, but still have points totals that are slightly below average for a relegation survivor so there remains work to be done.

Poor Rotherham look to be beyond salvation now – their points tally has been flatlining for a while and only one team has ever been in a worse position since 1995/96: Stockport had 13 points from 30 games in 2001/02 and finished rock bottom. The worst-placed survivor in this period was Crewe in 1998/99, who had 23 points at this stage – seven more than the Millers – but took 25 points from their final 16 games to finish 18th. A recovery of that magnitude would put Rotherham on 41 points – 10 more than the current 21st-placed side – so there is still hope.