Fans are always arguing over which teams win over VAR decisions in the Premier League, and this season we aim to give you the definitive answer.
It’s not just about the number of times a team receives a favorable VAR call or the number of goals affected. What is more important is when these VAR decisions take place, how they might have changed the course of the game and, most importantly, whether that impact would have ultimately changed the final score.
ESPN brings you the VAR Effects Table. We have taken the 22 VAR decisions in the Premier League so far this season and calculated how they could have changed the outcome of the matches. We will continue to follow VAR throughout the season and find out who the real winners and losers are.
How we compile the VAR effects table
We only take the first VAR reversal of each game, as the calculation assumes that any subsequent VAR incidents would not have occurred because the entire direction of the game has been changed. (Think of it like a Marvel timeline or the plot of any time travel movie.)
The VAR’s decision is then reversed from the original appeal from the field – so if a goal is disallowed for offside, it is awarded as a goal.
If a penalty has been waived, it is considered awarded and scored, unless the team in question has a penalty conversion record of less than 50% during the season. For example, so far this season, West Ham has missed both penalties, while all other teams except Man United have a 100% record. If it is less than 50%, the penalty can be considered missed.
If a team has been awarded a penalty goal or an incorrect offside via VAR, the goal is disallowed.
We then take a series of factors into account before deciding on an expected outcome:
Team form: The results of the previous six games give an indication of how a team has played in general.
Time of incident: For example, if an incident occurs late in the game, it is less likely that the score will change again after that point.
xG at the time of the incident: This allows us to take into account which team has created the best chances and is in the ascendancy.
Team strength: In addition to form, the overall strength of a team plays a role. This takes into account position in the league and a team’s goals and defensive records throughout the season.
Impact of the incident: For example, an overturned red card decision can change the outcome of a match.
These results were then used to modify the table and determine the impact of VAR on team positions this season.
The table shows the position of each team after the modified results, with the arrows indicating whether their position in the league is better or worse without VAR.
THE BIG LOSERS WITHOUT VAR
Four of the “Big Six” clubs’ drop points, showing they have benefited from favorable VAR decisions at key times.
Arsenalthe season suddenly worsens, losing two points and two places in 13th. VAR canceled a Burnley penalty when Aaron Ramsdale was judged to have knocked down Matej vydra, when the Gunners were leading 1-0. Burnley’s xG was slightly lower than Arsenal’s at the time of the incident, so after a converted penalty a 1-1 draw is the expected result.
Manchester city and Manchester United both lose a point and two places – and on the first four – without VAR. City’s home draw against Southampton becomes a 1-0 loss, with the penalty and red card against Kyle walker reinstated after both were controversially canceled via VAR. Although the incident occurred after an hour, City had not registered an xG greater than 1.0 and would have played the remainder of the game with 10 men. Man United’s home draw against Everton becomes a 2-1 loss, with Yerry MinaThe 85th minute offside “winner” is allowed. The results allow Brighton and Hove Albion to climb two places to fourth, even if their point total remains unchanged.
And after Liverpool fans last season lamented the impact of VAR, they are taking advantage this season and would lose the point they earned at home for Chelsea. Thomas Tuchel’s men were leading 1-0 in added time in the first half when a penalty and a red card were awarded via VAR, for Reece jameshandball on the goal line. Chelsea have not conceded a goal in the Premier League until then, their 11 restored men should have held up for a 1-0 victory.
But the biggest beneficiaries of VAR have been West Ham United, who lost three points and two places to finish 11th, while the 4-2 victory at Newcastle United becomes a 2-1 loss. Newcastle were leading 1-0 when West Ham saw a goal ruled out for offside by VAR, which gave them a foothold in the game after the Magpies dominated xG in the opening 19 minutes. In fact, West Ham’s record without VAR could and should be even worse, as Marc Noble missed a VAR penalty in added time in the 2-1 loss to Man United.
Leicester City are the only other team to lose a point without VAR and fall two places to 15th as Burnley would have won 3-2 at King Power thanks to Chris Wood’s unauthorized goal in added time.
THE BIG WINNERS WITHOUT VAR
Chelsea are top of the Premier League, and they certainly didn’t need the help of the video review system to get there. Without VAR, their one-point lead at the top of the Premier League drops to three points, mainly due to converting their draw at Anfield to a win.
But the biggest winners without VAR are undoubtedly poor Newcastle, who suffered four negative losses (twice as many as any other club), leading to three opposition goals. They are five points better without VAR, with the home loss to West Ham becoming a win and SouthamptonThe equalization of penalties for additional time is canceled. Without VAR, they come out of the relegation zone, up seven places from 19th to 12th.
Everton are the next biggest winners in terms of league standings, dropping from three places to second – although this is in part due to the negative effect on Liverpool, Man City and Man United as the Toffees only have one point better. Everton take two points from the victory at Man United but they also lose one in the game at Leeds United, with a 2-2 draw at Elland Road, now a 2-1 loss after the Toffees were kicked early in the VAR.
Burnley are second behind Newcastle in points recovered without VAR, with the 1-1 draw against Arsenal and the 3-2 win at Leicester, but that’s not enough to get them out of the bottom three. Southampton recover a point (they win at Man City but lose at Newcastle) but lose two places in the second last row, overtaken by Newcastle and Burnley.