Premier League permutations: 15-17 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.

There’s not much movement possible at the top of the table, but there are three teams – Man Utd, Arsenal and Everton – looking to claw their way towards the top four.

The relegation zone should also be quiet this weekend, apart from Hull and Swansea attempting to scrabble over each other, but lower mid-table is wide open.

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 Arsenal away – albeit at Middlesbrough – and Everton at home to perennially travel-sick Burnley, there’s a decent chance that the Gunners could slip to seventh. They’re only ahead of the Toffees on goal difference at the moment, although their two games in hand suggest that any slippage may eventually be reversed.

Swansea are two points behind Hull so only a win will do if they want to move out of the bottom three this weekend. They’re at home to Stoke but the Tigers are hosting Watford, so the chances of the Swans winning and Hull failing to do so are only around one in five.