We’re just past the halfway point of the season and things are looking up for Sheffield Wednesday since their recent upturn in form following the sacking of Jos Luhukay.
And while the hectic period of Christmas fixtures can make or break a season, there’s no way of knowing yet whether the Owls will improve on their current league position.
So we’ve turned to the supercomputer at FiveThirtyEight.com to see where the number-crunching machine thinks Wednesday will end the campaign.
Results, forecasts and a club’s Soccer Power Index – which is an estimate of a team’s overall strength using performance statistics – are used to calculate predictions including likelihood of promotion, number of goals scored and final league position.
The Owls’ Boxing Day win over Middlesbrough saw them rise to 16th in the Championship table - but where does the supercomputer think they’ll end the season?
Well, according to the prediction software, managerless Wednesday will finish one position below their current standing, in 17th place.
That’s based on past form though, so the Owls’ tough start to the campaign will have played a part. But, Wednesday’s rating and predicted finish could improve if Lee Bullen’s men continue to pick up points into the new year.
The computer doesn’t think the Hillsborough club have much chance of winning the league – that’s less than one per cent likely – and they only have a two per cent of making the play-offs.
And the numbers say there’s a six percent chance the Owls will be relegated – but that’s better odds than Millwall, Wigan, Rotherham, Bolton, Reading and Ipswich.
The supercomputer also simulated the rest of the Championship season based on data from the campaign so far and Wednesday ended up with 15 wins and 56 points in total to come in 17th place.
Current Championship leaders Leeds came top of the league in the simulation, with the rest of the top six made up of Norwich in second, West Brom third, Sheffield United in 4th, Aston Villa in 5th and Middlesbrough in 6th.
Leeds are 48 per cent likely to win the Championship and have a 75 per cent chance of promotion, while Norwich have a 21 per cent chance of winning the league and 52 per cent probability of promotion if the computer is to be believed.
The computer rates West Brom’s chances of securing a return to the Premier League at the first time of asking at 17 per cent for winning the Championship, 49 per cent for promotion and 47 per cent to make the play-offs.
That’s marginally better than Sheffield United’s predicted finish but the big movers are Aston Villa, currently 9th in the Championship, who the supercomputer reckons will finish behind the Blades in 5th.