League One Predicted Table: It’s going down to the final day…

Mystic Ron gets out the crystal ball and a spreadsheet with another hopeful prediction of the final standings in League One…

With seven games remaining for Swindon Town, it’s better late than never to have a go at predicting the final league positions on the 27th April.

After testing various methods over the past few seasons I’ve decided to take an entirely different approach this time around with three different measures being included in the assessment: points per game form to date; current six home and away form; and fixture difficulty.

This will ensure that both long and short term form are included – assessed on a home and away basis. Difficulty is calculated by using our efficiency rankings – see earlier post.  This predicts which team wins each match in a comparison between the efficiency battle in attack versus defence. Again separate home and away data is used. Because the way the efficiency rankings work they are heavily weighted towards more efficient teams, hence why the form projections are important in regularising the predictions. All numbers are rounded with projected goal difference used to separate teams.

2013.03.27 Predicted Points Table

Goal difference is worth an extra point! The calculations indicate Swindon are, statistically, in a very strong position to pip Sheffield United and Doncaster to the League One title. Wishful thinking…

Doncaster’s drop from the top spot could be likely given two very tough home games at the Keepmoat against Swindon, Tranmere Rovers and Notts County. Donny also need to visit Griffin Park, but are likely to pick up valuable points from games with Carlisle, Coventry and Crewe.

Tranmere are predicted to join Sheffield United, Bournemouth and Brentford in the play-offs, but only just, as the Wirral outfit are likely to finish weakest of the top 9 and it could go down to goal difference with Yeovil in 7th. Five of Rovers’ six remaining games are against opponents with points to play for, including Sheffield United, Doncaster and Bournemouth of the promotion chasers and Portsmouth and Hartlepool fighting at the basement.

It’s incredible to imagine that only two points could separate the top five and promotion will be decided on the final weekend of fixtures. But this is a sign of the overall competitiveness of League One this season with several sides jostling for promotion and no outstanding runaway leader as per previous years.

The final points total won by the League One champions hasn’t been as low as 82 since Southend United in 2005-06. In the previous seven seasons the points won to secure automatic promotion has steadily increased from 77 in 2005/06 to 91 in 2011/12, an average of 85.

At the other end, Hartlepool are likely to secure only 5 more points to finish 9 adrift of 20th placed Colchester. ‘Pool just secure bottom spot from Bury thanks to their greater goal difference. Also, looking likely to be joining them in League two will be Portsmouth and Scunthorpe with a 4 point cushion for Colchester.

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