Championship permutations: 10-11 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.


There’s not much change possible in the top half of the table this weekend, with big points gaps beneath Brighton and Leeds  preventing much change in the promotion race. However Sheff Wed can lose sixth spot to either Norwich or Derby if they’re not careful.

Lower mid-table is where the action is: eight different clubs could finish the weekend in 13th and nine in 19th, so the current order isn’t much use as a barometer of performance. It’s a particularly big weekend for QPR who could finish it anywhere from 13th to 21st.

Rotherham remain rooted to the bottom but either Bristol City or Burton could get dragged into the relegation zone if results go against them.

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 Sheffield Wednesday at home to out-of-sorts Birmingham, they’re likely to hold onto sixth place this weekend, although Norwich and Derby host sides struggling even more and therefore one will surely be able to punish any slip from the Owls.

Blackburn have a roughly one-in-four chance of breaking out of the bottom three this weekend – which would almost certainly be at Burton‘s expense given Bristol City‘s far superior goal difference. Rovers have a winnable away game at Rotherham while the Brewers travel to high-flying Brighton.