Championship permutations: 3-4 Mar 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.

2017-03-04-ch-permutations

Huddersfield are stuck in third for the time being, with six points between them and Brighton above and four separating them from Leeds below. The top six as a whole is a closed shop thanks to Fulham being five points off Sheffield Wednesday.

At the bottom, two of the teams in the relegation zone can escape it, with Blackburn and Wigan able to nudge any of Burton, Wolves and Bristol City into the bottom three instead.

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.

2017-03-04-ch-probabilities

Brighton‘s chances of regaining top spot this weekend are slim at 15%: they’d need Huddersfield to defeat Newcastle in Saturday’s late game – a draw isn’t enough thanks to the Magpies’ superior goal difference, unless the Seagulls were to spank Nottingham Forest by an unprecedented margin at the City Ground.

At the bottom we have a six-pointer with Blackburn hosting Wigan, with Rovers able to spirit themselves out of the bottom three if another relegation crunch match – Bristol City v Burton – goes their way.