Championship permutations: 31 Mar – 1 Apr 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.

It’s a pretty boring weekend for the Championship league table: apart from in the very middle nobody can move all that much.

The tussle for the final play-off place between Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham continues, with a four-way battle to avoid a spot in the bottom three also likely to entertain.

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 both Sheffield Wednesday and Fulham playing away this weekend, it’s likely that the status quo will prevail for now, while beneath them Norwich‘s prospects of defending 8th place from Preston are around 50:50. The Canaries face a tough trip to Villa while the Lilywhites are at home to struggling Forest and only trailing on goal difference as it stands.

Blackburn may be able to overtake three clubs this weekend but they have to travel to title challengers Brighton. However those three teams are all also away this weekend, with even a draw for Rovers potentially enough to sidle past both Burton and Nottingham Forest if each were to lose.