Championship permutations: 24-26 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.

2017-02-25-ch-permutations

A four-point gap in either direction keeps Huddersfield fixed in third place this weekend while six points separate Sheffield Wednesday from Fulham and the rest of the chasing pack trying to break into the top six.

Only Rotherham are guaranteed to remain in the bottom three this weekend – and perhaps for the remainder of the season given the extent of their plight. Bristol City are the only club able to be pulled into the relegation zone if either Wigan or Blackburn can find a win.

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.

2017-02-25-ch-probabilities

With Reading facing a tough trip to Brighton, whoever wins out of Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday in Saturday’s early kick-off can move above them. The Royals will therefore be hoping that those two draw before they kick off in the evening fixture.

With the other member of the top two, Newcastle, hosting Bristol City, there’s a chance that Wigan can move out of the relegation zone with a win at home to fellow strugglers Nottingham Forest.