E Ratings update: League 1, 4 Mar 2017

Here is the latest update of the season to the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. The rating system is explained here, but in a nutshell it’s based on the combined quality of chances that clubs create and allow, rather than their results.

The attack rating broadly equates to how many goals’ worth of chances a team would create against an average opponent (so higher is better), with the defence rating equivalent to the chances they’d be expected to allow (so lower is better). The overall rating is the difference between the two – effectively the average expected goal difference per match – so a positive number is good and a negative one is bad.

The graphic below lists each club in descending order of their overall E Rating and shows how this – along with their individual attack and defence ratings – has changed over the past 30 league matches. The red and green arrows indicate how the overall rankings have moved in the past month and the numbers in brackets show the ranks for each team’s attack and defence ratings.

2017-03-04-l1-sparklinesYou can see how the model assessed the latest round of matches here. The changes are over the last seven days so will factor in the midweek matches too.

Fleetwood‘s potentially crucial win over Scunthorpe wasn’t all that surprising given their impressive overall rating, but with their defence driving most of the improvement I’m still not sure whether their attack can create enough chances to stay in the top two.

However with the Iron and similarly-rated Bolton among their nearest challengers, they could well have picked a good season in which to flourish.

Swindon did everything except score in their late defeat to Chesterfield, which is why the Robins’ ratings continued to climb and the Spireites’ hit rock bottom.

Predicting the rest of the season

Below I’ve used each club’s current ratings and those of their remaining opponents to predict how the rest of the season could play out. Each of the remaining fixtures has been simulated thousands of times, using the current E Ratings to generate probabilities for where each club will finish.

This graphic shows the cumulative probability of where each club could end up, in descending order of average points won. You can think of the ordering of the teams down the left hand side as a “best guess” of the final league table, with the coloured bars showing the relative likelihood of each club ending up in a certain section of the table:


Fleetwood‘s win combined with poor results for their immediate challengers has put them in the driving seat for a top two finish. Even factoring in their slightly weaker attack, they look marginally likelier than not to defend second place.

There are now six clubs with a greater than 50% chance of claiming a top six spot, with Millwall looking the most assailable should the likes of Oxford, Southend or Rochdale finish strongly.

At the bottom it still looks to be curtains for Coventry and Chesterfield, with Swindon and Port Vale likely to join them in the final bottom four. However neither Bury nor Oldham are safe yet.