League 1 permutations: 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.


One of three sides will be joining Sheffield United in the top two after the weekend, with Scunthorpe only ahead of Fleetwood on goal difference and Bolton two points behind.

Below them, Southend could force their way into the top six at the expense of either Bradford or Millwall.

Only Swindon are capable of escaping the relegation zone this weekend, with Gillingham and Oldham able to be dragged beneath the Robins.

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 Scunthorpe hosting Fleetwood, a draw is enough to keep them in second place this weekend and being the home team makes it likely that they’ll get something.

While Southend are at home to struggling Port Vale, Millwall also playing at home makes it unlikely that those two will swap places.

Swindon need to beat Chesterfield and for either Walsall to beat Oldham or Bury to beat Gillingham in order to escape the relegation zone this weekend.