Premier League 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.

With a single point separating the three sides beneath Chelsea, the top four could be shuffled this weekend. With Everton just two points behind Man Utd and three behind Arsenal, the right combination of results could launch the Toffees into the top six.

Six different clubs could start next week in the relegation zone, although Sunderland are guaranteed to be one of them.

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.

Everton‘s chances of reaching fifth are vanishingly small due to the goal difference swing required and they’d need an unlikely favour from managerless Middlesbrough, who host Man Utd on Sunday, to supplant the Red Devils.

With Hull visiting Goodison Park while Crystal Palace are at home to Watford, the chances of a new club in the bottom three are relatively slim.