We’re almost a quarter of the way through the new Premier League campaign already, and VAR has been at the centre of it all. But how would the table look without the influence of the technology?
A study from ESPN has calculated where each team would be heading into the international break, taking VAR out of the equation.
The publication takes into account five key factors when working out the table, which include: team form, time of incident, xG at time of incident, team strength, and impact of incident.
Unsurprisingly, Liverpool would be in first place, after Luis Diaz’s goal was incorrectly disallowed against Tottenham last month, leading to the dropping of officials for future games.
But despite that controversy, the incident doesn’t qualify to be part of the calculation because it wasn’t the first time VAR was called upon in the game and the technology didn’t actually manage to overturn the on-field decision of offside.
However, Liverpool were also reduced to nine men after Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were shown their marching orders. And according to ESPN, Jones’s sending off is actually the most vital decision to go against Jurgen Klopp’s side this term.
The report explains: “The biggest decision to go against them came at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, when Curtis Jones was shown a red card in the 26th minute.
“The score was 0-0 at the time, with Liverpool’s recent form slightly better than Spurs’ and at that point in the game their xG was higher. With 11 players on the pitch, the VAR Effect gives Liverpool a 1-0 victory – a six-point swing on Tottenham.”
The other major decision to go cost the Reds this season came on the opening day against Chelsea. If Mohamed Salah’s strike in the 29th minute had been given, instead of being ruled out for offside, ESPN have predicted that Liverpool, who were 1-0 up at the time, would have gone on to win the game instead of drawing 1-1.
Meanwhile, Manchester City would be demoted to fourth place from third in the standings, while Burnley would sneak outside of the relegation zone, swapping place with Luton Town.