Championship permutations: 7 May 2017
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 title race is going down to the final day although, as we’ll see below, membership of the play-offs is pretty much settled even though it’s still mathematically possible for Leeds to claw their way back into it. At the bottom it’s a three-way tussle to avoid going down to League 1 with Wigan and Rotherham.
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.
The title race is too close to call: while Brighton are leading they appear to have a far tougher assignment (away at Villa) than Newcastle (home to Barnsley). Leeds’ vastly inferior goal difference (+14 to Fulham’s +27) means that we’d need to see two huge results for the Cottagers to be overtaken.
At the bottom there’s roughly a two-in-three chance that Blackburn won’t escape the drop on the final day, as they travel to Brentford while nearest rivals Forest are at home to Ipswich.