E Ratings update: League 1, 3 Feb 2019

Here is the latest update of the E Ratings and how they predict the rest of the season will pan out. The rating system is explained here, but in a nutshell it’s based on the combined quality of chances that clubs create and allow, rather than their results.

The attack rating broadly equates to how many goals’ worth of chances a team would create against an average opponent (so higher is better), with the defence rating equivalent to the chances they’d be expected to allow (so lower is better). The overall rating is the difference between the two – effectively the average expected goal difference per match – so a positive number is good and a negative one is bad.

The graphic below lists each club in descending order of their overall E Rating and shows how this – along with their individual attack and defence ratings – has changed over the past 30 league matches. The red and green arrows indicate how the overall rankings have moved in the past month and the numbers in brackets show the ranks for each team’s attack and defence ratings.

Luton have not only secured a commanding position at the top of the actual league table but have also overtaken long-time leaders Barnsley as the best-performing side according to the data. An even more notable climber is Oxford, whose impressive recent performances – particularly at the back – have seen them rocket up the rankings lately. Despite their improved fortunes of late, the model still doesn’t think much of Scunthorpe, although it reserves the most concern for Gillingham.

Predicting the rest of the season

Below I’ve used each club’s current ratings and those of their remaining opponents to predict how the rest of the season could play out. Each of the remaining fixtures has been simulated thousands of times, using the current E Ratings to generate probabilities for where each club will finish.

This graphic shows the cumulative probability of where each club could end up, in descending order of average points won. You can think of the ordering of the teams down the left hand side as a “best guess” of the final league table, with the coloured bars showing the relative likelihood of each club ending up in a certain section of the table:

It now looks as though automatic promotion is Luton‘s to throw away, with one of Barnsley and Portsmouth likely to join them in the final top two. Sunderland could yet break into the picture and have a few games in hand, but their underlying performances haven’t been as convincing as their results so far. At the bottom, time is running out for Wimbledon to avoid the drop, with the main ray of hope being the huge number of other teams who could still get dragged into a relegation battle.