The season is almost upon us. The weird one where there won’t be any fans – at least for a few months.

What’s going to happen? We’ve crunched the numbers for the Premier League, and also for the Championship. That is, we’ve generated forecasts based on the last 20 years of football around the world – extrapolating common scorelines over that time period and from all around the world (yes, 1-1s are really quite common), and then we’ve inserted match results (at random) for all 552 matches consistent with those forecasts. That is, we created an alternative reality. Then we did it again, and again. So far, 2,000 times. What does it tell us?

In the matrix below we present the probability of each team finishing in each position, based on those 2000 different simulated realities. So, Brentford (BRE) have a 11.8% chance of finishing 1st and winning the Championship. Watford (WAT) are 11%, followed by Cardiff (CAR) at 8.2%. On the other hand, Wycombe (WYC) are just 1.6% likely to finish 1st, and more likely to finish 21st (7.5%). I suspect they’ll happily take 21st come May (assuming the season has finished by then).

Matrix of probabilities
End-of-season forecasts for the 2020-2021 English Championship

We can sum up these probabilities to get probabilities of promotion and relegation. That’s what is in the next table:

Sheffield Wednesday’s 12 point deduction means they are the most likely team to be relegated, finishing in the bottom three. Plucky Wycombe Wanderers, surely everyone’s favourite Championship team (assuming you don’t support another one) this season, have a 21.4% chance of returning to League One. Fellow promoted side Rotherham are 14.6% to go back down, while Coventry are expected to do much better – at least, according to our model – with a probability of just 6% to go down, and indeed a 36.7% chance of making the play offs.