We are always open to new ideas at StokeonTrentLive and this week we have already pressed football data analysts to give us a scientific prediction of how the Championship could look come the middle of May.
It was no surprise that their answer came back in percentages with lots of notes in the margin.
So, before we head over to Peak Wildlife Park to ask Mystic Mog the sooth-saying penguin for an opinion on how one of the world’s most erratic divisions will pan out, our friends at Football Manager have given us a chance to simulate the season.
It’s ironic that no one could have predicted what they would come up with.
Ok, so it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Norwich ended up as champions and Bournemouth as runners-up – or that Watford go up through the play-offs.
But Nottingham Forest in third? With 83 points? Chris Hughton is well respected but miracle worker might be pushing it.
Brentford and Swansea complete the top six while Blackburn Rovers just miss out.
Sheffield Wednesday are cursing that six-point penalty too – but ask any fan now and they would happily snap up an offer of eighth post Garry Monk.
Stoke end up in 11th – and that’s not even the headline.
Michael O’Neill is poached by Brighton and Hove Albion just before Christmas when our old pal Graham Potter is sacked. Richard Walker steps up as caretaker over the festive period before O’Neill’s assistant Billy McKinlay gets the gig full-time.
The only transfer in January is the loan departure of Liam Lindsay to Gary Rowett’s Millwall.
Football Manager’s Stoke City transfer business 2020/21
Bournemouth are the only club in the division to do business of more than a £1m, bringing in Santiago Trellez from SPO for £1.2m and letting Josh King go to West Ham for £5.5m.
Kyle Edwards is Forest’s big £950,000 signing from West Brom and Preston snap up Maikel Kieftenbeld from Birmingham for £275,000.
Football Manager’s Championship January transfer window
Wycombe Wanderers and Coventry City are sent packing straight back down to League One and Huddersfield must have had a torrid few months. They join them in the drop zone, with Barnsley pretty comfortably safe in fourth-bottom. Derby are safe in 17th.
We’ll stick with reality thanks.