Premier League permutations: 12-14 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.

It’s set to be a relatively uneventful weekend as far as the top end of the table is concerned, although there’s a slim chance of seeing Arsenal slip back into the top four. Mid-table is where the action is, with 8th through 16th a bit of a free-for-all. At the bottom, Swansea and Hull could re-exchange places.

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.

Arsenal’s chances of displacing Man City in the top four are pretty small: they’d need Leicester to register a big win at the Etihad while they hammer Stoke at the Britannia.

It’s also unlikely – although far less improbable – that Hull will overtake Swansea: they’re only a point apart but the Swans have a healthier goal difference, so the Tigers realistically need a win at Palace while Sunderland do them a favour by at least holding Paul Clement’s side.