League 2 permutations: 18-19 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.

The top three aren’t going anywhere this weekend but any of the clubs in the play-off zone could start next week in 4th place.

Both Blackpool and Colchester are capable of dislodging Exeter from the top seven if the Grecians lose.

The relegation zone is also a closed shop at the moment although four different clubs could finish the weekend perched just above it.

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.

Blackpool are the only side with a realistic chance of breaking into the top seven as Colchester‘s goal difference is nowhere near good enough. Defeat for Exeter at Luton combined with a win for the Seasiders at relegation-threatened Newport would be sufficient for seventh place to change hands.

Carlisle look likely to drop a place or two this weekend: they’re away at Mansfield and defeat would allow both Luton and Stevenage to overtake them on goal difference with a draw.