Premier League permutations: 4-5 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.

Three different clubs can end up in fifth place after this round of games, with Everton capable of overhauling both Man Utd and Arsenal.

Lower mid-table is wide open, with eight different clubs – from Stoke to Crystal Palace – able to occupy either 9th or 10th place after the midweek fixtures.

At the bottom Hull can escape the bottom three at Swansea‘s expense but the other two occupants are stuck there for now at least.

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 sneaking into fifth place are pretty low – around 6% – as they’d have to win at Old Trafford and for West Ham to beat Arsenal at the Emirates.

A draw at home to Middlesbrough won’t be enough to move Hull out of the relegation zone unless Swansea lose heavily at home to Tottenham, so there’s only a one in three chance of the Tigers moving up.