Ranking every Premier League club by how they’ve been affected by VAR in 2023-24

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Burnley's Lyle Foster speaks to Nottingham Forest's Ryan Yates before being sent off for violent conduct during the Premier League match at City Ground, Nottingham.

Remember when it was said that the introduction of VAR would reduce controversy in football?

We’re now into the fifth season of the Premier League using a video assistant referee to help the on-pitch match officials reach the right decisions. Certain issues have been ironed out over time, but in 2023-24 it remains far from perfect.

But which clubs benefit and are most disadvantaged by VAR this season? We’re keeping a rolling tally throughout 2023-24 of every VAR decision and which clubs have been most affected, positively or negatively.

Note: we’ve only included figures that relate to overturned decisions only so do not include VAR referrals that have upheld the officials’ original decisions or controversial calls where VAR didn’t intervene.

Nottingham Forest +2

Two decisions went Forest’s way in the second half of their 1-1 draw at home to Burnley.

First a goal that would’ve put Burnley back ahead was disallowed after a VAR monitor check showed a handball from Sander Berge in the build-up, and then the would-be goalscorer Lyle Foster was dismissed for an elbow in the ribs of Ryan Yates.

Brentford +2

Thomas Frank’s Bees benefitted from the video assistant referee Tony Harrington advised Robert Jones to take a look at a Son Heung-Min challenge on Mathias Jensen.

Jones deemed it a foul, pointed to the spot, and Bryan Mbeumo converted his penalty in the 2-2 draw.

Brentford also benefited from seeing a penalty decision awarded to Newcastle overturned after the video assistants deemed that Mbeumo didn’t commit a handball offence, although that ultimately no bearing on their 1-0 defeat at St. James’ Park.

Brighton +1

Roberto De Zerbi’s high-flying Seagulls benefitted from VAR intervening to disallow a Manchester United equaliser after replays showed that the ball had gone out of play – just – before Marcus Rashford assisted Rasmus Hojlund. That would’ve made it 1-1 at Old Trafford but they went on to win 3-1.

Everton +1

Gabriel Martinelli’s early opener for Arsenal at Goodison Park was disallowed after VAR replays showed the Brazilian was offside. The Gunners went on to win 1-0 anyway.

Manchester City +1

The first VAR decision of the 2023-24 campaign to favour Manchester City was a pretty inconsequential one, really.

They were already three goals up with the points secured against Burnley when VAR intervened to advise referee Craig Pawson to look at the pitchside monitor for a replay of a dangerous Anass Zaroury lunge on Kyle Walker deep into injury time.

Zaroury was then dismissed as Pawson changed his original decision.

Crystal Palace +1

Aston Villa had Moussa Diaby’s goal disallowed against Palace for an offside VAR call.


Chelsea – 0 

Things evened with two marginal offside calls in Chelsea’s clash at home to Liverpool.

Mohamed Salah was denied a seventh successive opening weekend goal after he’d strayed marginally offside following a well-worked move, a goal that would’ve seen Jurgen Klopp’s Reds go two goals ahead at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea were then denied the lead 10 minutes later for a similarly tight VAR review caught Ben Chilwell offside.

Liverpool – 0

As above.

Liverpool can justifiably feel aggrieved that VAR didn’t intervene to help overturn the ridiculously harsh call to send off Alexis Mac Allister against Bournemouth, though.

Man Utd -1

Same as Arsenal above. Considering the match was at 1-1, and United would eventually lose 3-1, the decision to rule out Garnacho’s ‘winner’ could have a detrimental impact on their season.

Mere centimetres then denied Hojlund his first United goal, a would-be equaliser against Arsenal.

Arsenal -1

Arsenal felt aggrieved when referee Anthony Taylor overturned his original decision to award the Gunners a penalty for Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s foul on Kai Havertz during a super-charged match against Manchester United.

But they later fell to their knees and thanked the VAR gods for ruling out Alejandro Garnacho’s late winner.

In their next game, the Gunners fell victim to a tight VAR call when Martinelli’s early opener was chalked off for offside away to Everton.

Tottenham -1

On the other end of Brentford’s penalty call (above).

Aston Villa -1

Moussa Diaby saw his goal disallowed for offside against Crystal Palace.

Later that same game a VAR overturn was dismissed by referee Darren England, who looked at the monitor and stuck to his original call that Chris Richards fouled Ollie Watkins for a penalty, though for clarity we’re not counting that here as the original decision was upheld.

Newcastle -1

Eddie Howe’s Magpies were given a second penalty in their home match against Brentford, but it was overturned after the original handball decision was deemed erroneous.

Newcastle could’ve doubled their lead but held on to win 1-0 regardless.

Burnley -3

Coming out on the other side of the VAR call from the aforementioned Zaroury challenge in the opening fixture were Vincent Kompany’s Clarets.

The only controversy was how Pawson didn’t make the right decision in the first place and even the Burnley boss had no qualms.

“It’s a striker trying to make a tactical foul, tackling with the technique of a striker unfortunately,” Kompany said.

“No complaints, the technique was wrong and it could have been bad.

“I don’t think in the end he touches him too hard, it’s not full contact, it’s not a leg breaker, but it could have been a bad tackle and you have to accept the consequences.”

The Clarets then fell victim to two further VAR interventions in their 1-1 away to Nottingham Forest. Lyle Foster had a goal disallowed for a handball in the build-up and a short while later the South African was dismissed after replays picked up violent conduct.

As with Zaroury, Foster will now (presumably) also serve a three-match ban.


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