Fractional offsides, endless debates about the handball rule, and lots of fans now making big square gestures in the stands. VAR has firmly arrived in the Premier League and has dominated the conversation ever since.
For all the debate about its benefits or whether or not it's being used properly, the question remains: without it, would anything be different? With the help of a study from bettingexpert, we’ve worked out how the table would look if the system wasn’t in place…
20. Southampton, 5 points (-3)
Southampton have endured a miserable start to the Premier League season, but their situation would be even more dismal without VAR. The system worked in Saints’ favour against Sheffield United, Bournemouth and Wolves, in effect earning them an additional three points.
19. Watford, 5 points (-)
Watford are still awaiting their first victory of the Premier League season, but they can’t point to VAR for the reason behind their winlessness. The Stockley Park officials did award them a penalty against Chelsea, but the Hornets still succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.
18. Norwich, 7 points (-)
Norwich have collected just one point from the last 18 available, leaving them second-bottom of the table after 11 matches. They would be slightly higher up the table without VAR, even though their own points tally would be unchanged.
17. Newcastle, 12 points (-)
Newcastle are the only club in the Premier League yet to experience an overturn of a decision, be it a goal, disallowed goal, penalty or red card. That means they would also have 12 points if VAR wasn’t in place.
16. Everton, 12 points (-1)
Everton were aggrieved that they weren’t awarded a penalty for a Dele Alli handball in Sunday’s draw with Tottenham, although Son Heung-min was later sent off thanks in part to a video review. Marco Silva has come under pressure after the Toffees’ poor start to the season, but they would actually have one point fewer without VAR.
15. Burnley, 12 points (-)
Burnley are another side whose points total would be the same if VAR wasn’t operational. Sean Dyche’s side have had two decisions in their favour and one against, but all three proved inconsequential to their overall tally.
14. Tottenham, 12 points (-1)
Tottenham were beneficiaries of one of the most dramatic VAR interventions of the season, as Stockley Park ruled out a late Gabriel Jesus ‘winner’ in their draw with Manchester City in August. It worked both for and against them in defeat at Leicester, with Ayoze Perez and Serge Aurier (an agonisngly close offside) both having goals chalked off.
13. Crystal Palace, 12 points (-3)
Palace have gained more than most from the introduction of VAR; in fact, they would have three fewer points without it. Jordan Ayew was granted a goal in their 2-1 win at West Ham, while Arsenal were controversially denied one when the Eagles drew 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium.
12. Aston Villa, 13 points (+2)
Aston Villa may have benefited from an extremely VAR call last weekend, when Roberto Firmino was adjudged to be marginally offside before turning the ball home. However, Dean Smith’s side have been hard done by overall, seeing goals taken away against both Burnley and Brighton.
11. Manchester United, 14 points (+1)
Manchester United have plenty of work to do if they’re to fulfil their pre-season objective of finishing in the top four. The Red Devils would be doing only marginally better under the old system, although they failed to take advantage of two VAR-awarded penalties against Norwich, missing both.
10. West Ham 15 points (+1)
West Ham’s matches have featured five VAR decisions, the joint most in the division. Stockley Park helped them out in incidents against Manchester City and Brighton, but did the opposite against Palace, Bournemouth and in the same meeting with City on the opening weekend.
9. Brighton, 15 points (-)
Video reviews came to Brighton’s aid against Aston Villa and Everton, although Leandro Trossard had a goal ruled out after Dan Burn was adjudged to have been offside against West Ham. Overall, though, Brighton’s points tally has been unaffected.
8. Bournemouth, 15 points (-1)
Josh King has been at the centre of both VAR interventions involving Bournemouth: the Norwegian striker had a goal chalked off against Southampton in September, but was then awarded one against West Ham the following week. Without the review system, the Cherries would have one fewer point than the 16 they have accumulated so far.
7. Sheffield United, 17 points (+1)
Sheffield United have been the surprise package of the 2019/20 campaign so far, losing only three of their 11 games to sit sixth in the standings. They would be doing even better without VAR, which ruled against Oli McBurnie in a home loss to Southampton.
6. Wolves, 17 points (+4)
It wasn’t long ago that Wolves were in the bottom three, but they would actually be sixth in the Premier League if VAR didn’t exist. Nuno Espirito Santo’s side were denied a goal by Stockley Park officials on the opening weekend against Leicester, which rather set the tone for their relationship with video reviews going forward.
5. Arsenal, 18 points (+1)
Unai Emery’s job has come under threat in recent weeks, but perhaps a victory over Crystal Palace would have changed the mood around the Emirates. Arsenal were extremely unfortunate to only draw 2-2 that day, with Sokratis Papastathopoulos denied what would have been a late winner for a supposed foul by Calum Chambers.
4. Leicester, 20 points (-3)
Leicester are flying high in the Premier League and could even move into second place if results go their way this weekend. The Foxes have been helped by VAR, though, which worked in their favour against Wolves, Burnley and Southampton.
3. Chelsea, 24 points (+1)
With just two defeats in their opening 11 encounters, Frank Lampard’s Chelsea have exceeded expectations at the start of 2019/20. The Blues have had four VAR decisions work against them, however, and would have an additional point without Stockley Park reviews.
2. Manchester City, 27 points (+2)
With Liverpool setting a ferocious pace at the start of the season, every point could be crucial between now and the end of the campaign. Manchester City were aggrieved when VAR chalked off a late ‘winner’ against Tottenham back in August, and those two dropped points could prove pivotal in the title race.
1. Liverpool, 31 points (-)
Liverpool have only dropped two points this term, and they would perhaps have a 100 per cent record had VAR not ruled out a Sadio Mane ‘goal’ in their 1-1 draw with Manchester United. The system worked to their advantage against Chelsea, though, meaning the Reds would still have 31 points without video reviews.
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