Premier League permutations: 29 Apr – 1 May 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.

One team out of Liverpool, Tottenham and Man City will start next week outside the top four, with Arsenal currently too far behind to move up the table.

West Brom remain lodged in eighth but any of the seven teams immediately beneath them could sit alongside them in ninth after this round of games.

At the bottom Swansea can push Hull into the bottom three or the Tigers could put Burnley between themselves and the relegation zone.

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 Liverpool and Man City both having winnable away games, there’s only a 7% chance that Man Utd can overtake them both. A draw could be enough to edge them past rivals City on goal difference should the latter lose.

At the bottom there’s a similarly small chance – 8% – that Swansea can move out of the relegation zone this weekend. It’d require them to register a very unlikely win at Old Trafford.