Premier League permutations: 8-10 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.

The top four is impregnable for the time being thanks to Man City’s four-point lead over Arsenal. West Brom still have a seven-point gulf either side of them so aren’t going anywhere for a while. At the bottom Swansea can move out of the drop zone if either Palace or Hull slip up, while it’s a big weekend for West Ham who can finish it as high up as 11th or as low down as 17th.

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 Watford away at Tottenham it’s likely that they’ll be dropping in the table this weekend. Meanwhile Burnley have a good chance to rise if they can improve on their away form, with an easy-looking game at Middlesbrough combined with tough fixtures for the sides immediately above them.