Championship permutations: 28-29 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 still a chance for Leeds to break back into the play-off zone while the incumbents jostle for position. Fulham are the only one of the current four occupants who can lose their spot this weekend, with the others all capable of starting the final round of games in third.

At the bottom Blackburn can nudge either Nottingham Forest or Birmingham into the relegation zone with a win, while Wigan – who aren’t mathematically relegated yet – will start next week in 23rd no matter what.

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.

Huddersfield look likely to retain third place for now: they’re two points ahead of Reading and have a winnable away game at Birmingham.

While it’s mathematically possible for Leeds to move up a place this weekend, the swing in goal difference that they’ need is so huge that it didn’t happen in any of the simulations I ran.

With Blackburn needing to beat Aston Villa and for Huddersfield to take at least a point at St Andrew’s, the chances of them starting next week outside the bottom three aren’t great.