Championship permutations: 14 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.


With QPR and Burton not in action – they already played each other for the second time this season a few weeks ago – both can only move down this evening.

Brighton still have a six-point advantage over Huddersfield that insulates the top two from incursions for now. Even the top six is tough to break into at the moment, with Norwich the only team that can manage it tonight.

Blackburn can take advantage of the Brewers’ sitting this round out and overtake both them and Bristol City if results go their way this evening. However only the former can drop into the relegation zone at Rovers’ expense.

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.


Norwich need to beat Newcastle and hope that Blackburn get at least a point at Sheffield Wednesday if they’re to move into the top six at the Owls’ expense this evening, so the chances of this happening are relatively low.

Brighton‘s own prospects of overtaking Newcastle aren’t much better than one in three as they’d need to beat Ipswich and hope that the Tractor Boys’ rivals Norwich can at least hold the Magpies to a draw.

Blackburn‘s aforementioned tricky trip to Sheffield Wednesday means that moving above Burton – for which they need a win – won’t be easy. The model gives them around a one-in-five chance of success.