Arsenal would be two places better off if the Video Assistant Referee was not being used in the Premier League this season, while Newcastle wouldn’t be in the relegation zone
Arsenal would be fourth in the Premier League if VAR was not being used to make decisions, according to a new study.
The Gunners are currently sixth in the top flight with 36 points, two adrift of Manchester United, who hold that all-important Champions League qualification spot.
Mikel Arteta’s side do have a game in hand on United – and two on fifth-placed West Ham – so may well still clinch that coveted fourth place.
But research by ESPN shows that VAR may be robbing them of points, which could be crucial in the run-in.
The VAR Effect Table, which takes into account every decision which has used VAR this season, has Arsenal in fourth on 37 points, narrowly ahead of United and West Ham.
The study has looked at the first VAR overturn in each game and worked out what difference it had on results.
It means that, for example, if a side had a goal ruled out by VAR for a narrow offside, it would be allowed to stand without the technology interfering.
If a penalty has been cancelled, it is instead considered to have been awarded and scored.
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Meanwhile, if a team has been awarded a goal through a penalty or an incorrect offside through VAR, the goal is instead disallowed.
Without VAR, Arsenal would have seen two decisions changed: a penalty given away by Aaron Ramsdale against Burnley in September, which was overturned by VAR, and a penalty which was given to Manchester City on New Year’s Day
It is not an exact science – and doesn’t alter the table dramatically – but nevertheless makes for interesting reading.
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Without VAR, Man City would still be well clear at the top of the table, albeit with one fewer point.
Liverpool would still be in second place, with one more point, while Chelsea’s position and points total would be unaltered in third.
Without VAR Manchester United would lose a point to drop a place, but West Ham’s position would not change – partly because ESPN took into account their poor record from the penalty spot this season.
Interestingly, Everton are the biggest winners of the VAR amnesty, climbing five places, from their actual position of 16th to 11th. Perhaps, then, Rafa Benitez wouldn’t have been sacked, had it not been for VAR.
Both Southampton and Aston Villa would be two places worse off without VAR, while Newcastle wouldn’t be in the relegation zone.
Here is the full Premier League table without VAR.
- Manchester City – 56 points (real position: 1st, 57 points)
- Liverpool – 49 points (2nd, 48 points)
- Chelsea – 47 points (3rd, 47 points)
- Arsenal – 37 points (6th, 36 points)
- Manchester United – 37 points (4th, 38 points)
- West Ham – 37 points (5th, 37 points)
- Tottenham – 35 points (7th, 36 points)
- Wolves – 31 points (8th, 34 points)
- Brighton – 30 points (9th, 30 points)
- Leicester – 27 points (10th, 26 points)
- Everton – 25 points (16th, 19 points)
- Brentford – 25 points (14th, 23 points)
- Aston Villa – 24 points (11th, 26 points)
- Southampton – 24 points (12th, 25 points)
- Crystal Palace – 22 points (13th, 24 points)
- Leeds – 22 points (15th, 22 points)
- Newcastle – 19 points (18th, 15 points)
- Norwich – 16 points (17th, 16 points)
- Burnley – 15 points (20th, 13 points)
- Watford – 11 points (18th, 15 points)