League 2 permutations: 22 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 have been decided, although Plymouth could edge into top spot this weekend. However the play-off race continues to thrill with everyone down to 13th-placed Wycombe able to start next week in the top seven.

Below that it’ll be a boring weekend for Grimsby while at the foot of the table Hartlepool can be dragged into the bottom two if results go against them.

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.

Plymouth would need a ten-goal swing to overhaul Doncaster, which isn’t likely to happen with the Pilgrims away at Colchester.

With all four of the teams in the play-off places at home this weekend it’ll be tough for any of the unusually large chasing back to break in, although all have a chance if there’s a slip-up. If Blackpool were to draw with Cheltenham then that would let either Carlisle or Cambridge in should they win.

Newport’s chances of moving clear of the relegation places this weekend is only around one-in-four, as they’d need to beat in-form Accrington and hope Barnet do them a favour at Hartlepool.