2022/23 Premier League table without VAR


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As the futuristic notion of video assistant referees (VAR) began to gain traction in 2017, it operated under the slogan “minimum interference for maximum benefit.”

Across the four full seasons of the Premier League in the VAR age, almost every club has come out feeling the very opposite; maximum interference for minimum benefit. However, surely the (almost) all-seeing eye of Stockley Park cannot be punishing each top-flight club equally.

IFAB’s technical director and former Premier League referee David Elleray promised that VAR “could change the face of football”. Whether that is for the better or worse is a bigger question but in the immediate term, it has undoubtedly impacted the league table.

Here are the Premier League clubs that have felt the maximum benefit of VAR – and those that emphatically have not.

Final 2022/23 Premier League table without VAR

Position (compared to actual table)

Team

Points

1 (-)

Man City

95

2 (-)

Arsenal

85

3 (-)

Man Utd

75

4 (-)

Newcastle

71

5 (+1)

Brighton

64

6 (-1)

Liverpool

60

7 (+1)

Tottenham

60

8 (+1)

Brentford

56

9 (-2)

Aston Villa

56

10 (-)

Fulham

53

11 (+3)

West Ham

47

12 (-1)

Crystal Palace

46

13 (-1)

Chelsea

45

14 (-1)

Wolves

41

15 (+1)

Nottingham Forest

41

16 (-1)

Bournemouth

40

17 (-)

Everton

38

18 (-)

Leicester

37

19 (-)

Leeds

35

20 (-)

Southampton

25

Data via the Shields Gazette

Intriguingly, the division’s leading and trailing quartet have not been decisively impacted by video assistant referees this season – although, that does rob the relegated trio of an easy excuse for their demise.

Manchester City‘s margin of victory would have been larger than the actual five-point cushion which the champions held above Arsenal had VAR not intervened.

Two of the six points that City lost out on were passed up as recently as the final week of the season when Erling Haaland‘s header against Brighton was ruled out for a tug of Levi Colwill’s shirt. Pep Guardiola’s branded the decision as “ridiculous” in a 1-1 draw after the title had been decided.

Arsenal would only have been one point better off without VAR this season but the view of the video screens from north London is not favourable. The Gunners were on the end of an error so egregious against Brentford that the official Lee Mason was forced to step down from his duties at a distance.

They may have only shifted one place higher without VAR, but Brighton exposed the human error element of the technological advance more than any other club. If it only meant less time wasted on the phone with Howard Webb, Roberto De Zerbi would surely opt for a return to the analogue age.

Liverpool, by contrast, gained more points thanks to VAR’s intervention than any other club in the division. The Reds infamously benefitted from the lack of sufficient camera angles during an FA Cup tie with Wolves earlier this season but got the rub of the green when the pitch was in frame in the top flight – even if Jurgen Klopp’s complaints against the officials this season have been particularly venomous.

Unai Emery will deservedly accept the praise for hauling Aston Villa into Europe for the first time since 2010 but VAR is owed some credit as well. Without the screen jockeys, Villa would be five points and two places worse off. Incidentally, a pair of controversial VAR calls helped Villa chisel out a 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Anfield which effectively ended any hope of Champions League qualification for the Reds.

West Ham have enjoyed and endured a complex relationship with the officials this season. If Fulham manager Marco Silva was to be consulted, the volleyball vibes behind both of West Ham‘s victories against the Cottagers this term would undoubtedly have swayed his opinion. However, across the entire campaign, the Hammers have been hampered by VAR more than any other club.

Without a virtual shadow hanging over each fixture, West Ham would have collected seven more points and climbed an extra three places. At various times over the season, David Moyes has denigrated VAR as “strange”, “disrespectful” and simply “not doing a good job”.

 


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