Championship permutations: 17-18 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.

They may have missed their chance to break into the play-offs in midweek but Fulham have another shot at displacing either Sheffield Wednesday or Reading this weekend.

At the bottom any of the four clubs from Burton to Bristol City could start next week alongside Wigan and Rotherham in the relegation zone.

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 Newcastle‘s trip to Birmingham looking more straightforward than Brighton‘s game at Leeds, the Seagulls’ chances of retaking top spot are only around one in four. They’d need to better the Magpies’ result thanks to their inferior goal difference.

Fulham‘s chances of breaking into the play-offs are around 50:50 as they’re at home while Reading and Sheffield Wednesday play each other. The Cottagers can’t overtake them both as one would be guaranteed to finish the weekend with more points.

A point at home to Huddersfield could be enough to lift Bristol City out of the bottom three on goal difference if Blackburn slip up against Preston.