League 2 permutations: 14 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 three aren’t going anywhere this weekend but the play-off contest remains a free-for-all. While Luton and Stevenage will at least stay in the top seven for now, the lower two berths could be occupied by any of the six clubs immediately below them. At the bottom, Newport could edge out of the relegation zone at Hartlepool’s expense.

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.

Exeter are at home this weekend and therefore relatively likely to start next week in the top seven. However if the Grecians were to draw then a Blackpool win at home to in-form Accrington would be enough to see the two trade places on goal difference.

Newport would need to win at home to Yeovil and for Hartlepool to lose their own home game with stuttering Carlisle in order to rise out of the bottom two: not impossible by any means, but far from a sure thing.