Canaries have 99.5pc chance of promotion - according to data experts
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Data experts are rating Norwich City's probability of promotion at 99.5 per cent ahead of the Championship leaders' final eight games of the season, based on official Opta match statistics.
That kicks off at Preston this afternoon, with the Canaries sitting 14 points clear of third-placed Swansea thanks to nine wins and a draw from their 10 games prior to the international break.
Stats gurus at TheAnalyst.com, an editorial branch of Stats Perform, have been studying the race for promotion to the Premier League closely and now rate the chances of City finishing third at just 0.4pc.
Their prediction model forecasts that Daniel Farke's team will finish on 96 points and that they have a probability of 93.1pc of winning the title, predicting Watford will finish eight points behind with a 67.1pc likelihood of finish second.
The model predicts Brentford will climb to third to finish four points short of the automatic promotion slots, a point clear of Swansea in fourth, with Barnsley and Bournemouth fifth and sixth respectively, with Reading missing out on the play-offs by two points.
Their in-depth study looks at various factors, including comparison in style, focussing on the creative brilliance of Canaries star Emi Buendia and goalkeeper Tim Krul's impressive consistency.
Another interesting element is looking at the percentage of game time that teams have spent in winning, drawing and losing positions so far this season.
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Watford (9pc) are the only team to have spent less time losing than Norwich (15pc) and the Hornets (42pc) and Brentford (38pc) are the only sides to have spent more time in a winning position than City (34pc).
The overall prediction of promotion inevitability comes as a welcome confidence boost for any Canaries supporters feeling nervous ahead of today game at 16th-placed Preston (3pm) though, less than 48 hours after seven first-team regulars were in international action.
With an untimely hamstring injury in training this week forcing Christoph Zimmermann to join fellow centre-back Ben Gibson on the sidelines for the remainder of the campaign, it leaves a hole to be filled alongside skipper Grant Hanley - if the Scotland defender is able to play so soon after three successive international starts, including on Wednesday night.
The unusual situation has some fans concerned about a potentially rejuvenated North End team, following the exit of manager Alex Neil after a poor run of form, posing a big threat to the 10-game unbeaten run.
However, with 83 points already in the bag, it appears highly likely that just six points from their remaining eight matches will be enough to secure promotion - with teams finishing second in the past 10 seasons averaging 88 points.
Following today's game, the leaders return home to take on Huddersfield on Tuesday and then travel to Derby next Saturday, teams currently placed 18th and 19th in the table
- Click here to read the full study from The Analyst
- You can follow all the action from Deepdale this afternoon in our Matchday Live blog