How the 21-22 Premier League table would look if we didn’t have VAR

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Referee Stuart Attwell changes his on field decision to give a penalty to Norwich after checking the VAR screen. Elland Road, 13th March 2022.

Since its introduction, VAR has been the subject of controversy and many wish it had never arrived. But what would the 2021-22 Premier League table without VAR have looked like?

We’ve already looked at which teams have been most affected by VAR in 2021-22 and ESPN have now tried to take us to a VAR-free world by creating a 2021-22 Premier League table if VAR didn’t exist.

But before you start rushing to try and figure out a way to get to this alternate universe, you should probably have a look at what the table would have meant for your favourite team.

Firstly, ESPN only considered the first VAR decision in each game, theorising that other VAR calls wouldn’t have happened due to the way the game would have played out differently.

They then calculated a new result based on a number of factors, from team form to the xG of the game before the incident and so on.

Of course, one of the reasons we love football is its totally unpredictable nature, so the reality is that even if there was no VAR this table wouldn’t be accurate, but regardless it makes for fascinating viewing.

There’s plenty of movement up and down the league, with position changes that would have had enormous consequences for a variety of clubs.

Whilst Manchester City remain champions with Liverpool second, the other end of the table sees Leeds lose out hugely, finishing on the same points tally as Burnley but dropping into the last relegation spot on goal difference.

Arsenal are perhaps the biggest winners of a VAR-free world. They would have finished on 73 points, finishing fourth and leapfrogging Spurs on 69, who would have dropped out of the Champions League spots.

Manchester United fans, however, would have suffered even more than they did in real life. The Red Devils would have slumped to eighth on just 56 points, missing out on all European football entirely.

But it wasn’t West Ham who benefitted from the United collapse in the VAR-free world. In fact, it was Leicester, who would have climbed two places to sixth and earned themselves a ticket back to the Europa League.

So here is the full 2021-22 Premier League table if VAR had not been in use. It’s important to note that this doesn’t mean that VAR’s decisions have been incorrect, it just shows how the league would look pre-VAR.

1. Manchester City
Points without VAR: 94
Actual points: 93
Actual position: 1st

2. Liverpool
Points without VAR: 92
Actual points: 92
Actual position: 2nd

3. Chelsea
Points without VAR: 74
Actual points: 74
Actual position: 3rd

4. Arsenal
Points without VAR: 73
Actual points: 69
Actual position: 5th

• • • •

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah after the League Cup final v Chelsea at Wembley Stadium, London, Febraury 2022.

READ: Can you name the top goalscorer from every Premier League season?

• • • •

5. Tottenham
Points without VAR: 69
Actual points: 71
Actual position: 4th

6. Leicester City
Points without VAR: 58
Actual points: 52
Actual position: 8th

7. West Ham
Points without VAR: 56
Actual points: 56
Actual position: 7th

8.  Manchester United
Points without VAR: 56
Actual points: 58
Actual position: 6th

• • • •

Referee David Coote awards a penalty to Everton after consulting the pitch side monitor.

READ: Ranking the Premier League clubs by who was most affected by VAR

• • • •

9. Brighton
Points without VAR: 50
Actual points: 51
Actual position: 9th

10. Newcastle 
Points without VAR: 49
Actual points: 49
Actual position: 11th

11. Wolves
Points without VAR: 48
Actual points: 51
Actual position: 10th

12. Brentford
Points without VAR: 48
Actual points: 46
Actual position: 13th

13. Crystal Palace
Points without VAR: 46
Actual points: 48
Actual position: 12th

14. Aston Villa
Points without VAR: 43
Actual points: 45
Actual position: 14th

15. Everton
Points without VAR: 43
Actual points: 39
Actual position: 16th

16. Southampton
Points without VAR: 37
Actual points: 40
Actual position: 15th

• • • •

Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus and Jack Grealish with the Premier League trophy following the the Premier League match at The Etihad Stadium. Sunday May 22, 2022.

READ: A club-by-club breakdown of the 2021-22 Premier League prize money

• • • •

17. Burnley
Points without VAR: 36
Actual points: 35
Actual position: 18th

18. Leeds
Points without VAR: 36
Actual points:
Actual position:

19. Norwich
Points without VAR: 23
Actual points: 22
Actual position: 20th

20. Watford
Points without VAR: 20
Actual points: 23
Actual position: 19th

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