Ranking the Premier League clubs by who has been most affected by VAR
The implementation of VAR has been one of the biggest talking points of the 2019-20 Premier League season, but which clubs have been most affected by its use?
Thanks to the excellent work of ESPN, we’ve ranked every Premier League club from who has benefited most to who has had the most decisions go against them when VAR has overturned an on-pitch decision.
The figures do not include VAR referrals that have upheld the officials’ original decisions.
Brighton’s first taste of VAR saw Leandro Trossard’s goal against West Ham disallowed in August, but they have fared better since with six goals scored against them subsequently being disallowed.
They were also awarded a penalty by VAR against Everton in October, while Jamie Vardy was forced to retake a penalty against the Seagulls the following month when encroachment was spotted. He scored it anyway, mind.
Glenn Murray’s originally ruled out goal against West Ham in February was also allowed to stand after a VAR review.
On the final day of the season, Brighton then saw Jay Rodriguez’s potential equaliser for Burnley ruled out for offside.
Manchester United +7
Just two VAR referrals have gone against United. In September, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s originally ruled-out goal for Arsenal was allowed to stand, while they saw a penalty given for a foul on Bruno Fernandes against Tottenham overturned in June.
In their favour, the Red Devils have seen Sadio Mane’s goal at Old Trafford and Roberto Firmino’s goal at Anfield ruled out by VAR.
United also had two penalties awarded at Norwich City – they contrived to miss them both – and then another penalty given against Manchester City.
VAR came to United’s rescue once again during their game against Chelsea, ruling out goals from Kurt Zouma and Olivier Giroud, while Watford were denied an equaliser at Old Trafford after seeing Troy Deeney’s goals disallowed for handball.
Everton were denied all three points at Goodison Park when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late goal was chalked off.
In their 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Jordan Ayew’s potential equaliser was ruled out for offside, but they were punished for Paul Pogba’s handball against West Ham, which led to the penalty converted by Michail Antonio, who couldn’t help but laugh at the midfielder.
Crystal Palace +4
Palace benefited from three VAR decisions in October when Jordan Ayew’s late goal against West Ham was awarded after initially being given as offside, a penalty was awarded against Arsenal after Wilfried Zaha had been booked for diving, and then Sokratis’ late goal was disallowed for the hosts.
The Eagles have had goals ruled out against Liverpool and Southampton although a Manchester City penalty was cancelled by VAR and Connor Wickham’s goal against Norwich was allowed to stand.
It has also helped Crystal Palace in terms of reds cards, sending off Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January before rescinding Joel Ward’s red card against Sheffield United.
More recently the have rued VAR, seeing Mamadou Sakho’s goal against Aston Villa and Jordan Ayew’s equaliser against Manchester United ruled out.
Aston Villa have had two goals disallowed against Burnley, while a penalty awarded to Chelsea was overturned after Callum Hudson-Odoi was deemed to have taken a dive.
The Clarets were then awarded a penalty of their own against Watford after a foul was spotted by VAR, but Sean Dyche’s team also had goals disallowed against Leicester and West Ham.
Since the turn of the year, three VAR decisions involving Burnley have gone in the Clarets’ favour, ruling out goals for Jack Grealish, Josh King and Harry Wilson, with the latter coming with the added bonus of a penalty awarded in their favour due to a handball all the way back at the opposite end of the pitch in the build-up.
But upon their return following football’s postponement, Burnley saw Manchester City awarded a penalty by VAR for a foul by Ben Mee, with the resulting spot-kick converted by Riyad Mahrez.
In the final two matches of the campaign, Burnley were helped by Norwich’s Emi Buendia receiving a red card for an elbow on Ashley Westwood, but they were hindered by Jay Rodriguez’s equaliser against Brighton being disallowed for offside.
VAR has only been involved in two Newcastle fixtures, with all three decisions going in their favour.
First, Jonjo Shelvey’s goal against Sheffield United was given after initially being ruled out for offside in December.
In March, Southampton were reduced to 10 men and Newcastle were later awarded a penalty for a handball by Sofiane Boufal.
Southampton have had six goals against them ruled out by VAR, but Ryan Bertrand’s red card against Leicester went against them.
January was a tough month for the Saints as VAR reversed a decision to give them a penalty against Leicester due to an offside call in the build-up and it then awarded Wolves a penalty in the next game.
In their final game before lockdown, Southampton had VAR to blame for Moussa Djenepo being sent off against Newcastle, who later had a penalty awarded for a handball against Sofiane Boufal.
In their penultimate match of the season, Southampton were awarded a penalty against Bournemouth for handball and also saw Sam Surridge’s late goal for the hosts disallowed.
Chelsea and Crystal Palace had goals ruled out against Liverpool, but Sadio Mane had goals ruled out against Manchester United and Watford, leaving the Reds level in VAR judgements.
Then Wolves arrived at Anfield and saw Mane’s goal allowed to stand after the referee had whistled for an Adam Lallana handball, and then Pedro Neto’s goal ruled out for offside.
Just like Mane, Firmino then had a goal ruled out against Manchester United after Virgil van Dijk had fouled David De Gea in the build-up.
Most recently, Riyad Mahrez’s goal for Manchester City was disallowed against Liverpool due to a handball in the build-up, although it wasn’t exactly crucial given City were 4-0 up at the time.
VAR drama! 😳
Roberto Firmino thought he had doubled Liverpool's lead, but it's ruled out after a foul on David de Gea in the build-up.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) January 19, 2020
Leicester City +1
Spurs and Burnley and Wolves (twice) have all had goals disallowed against Leicester, while Ryan Bertrand was sent off for Southampton.
Kelechi Iheanacho also had a goal awarded against Everton after originally being given as offside, but the Foxes had a penalty cancelled in the same game.
Jamie Vardy was made to retake a penalty against Brighton for encroachment, albeit he still scored.
VAR cancelled a Southampton penalty in January but Jonny Evans then had a late goal ruled out for offside in the same game.
Facing Manchester City in February, a penalty was given against Leicester for handball, only for Sergio Aguero to miss the spot-kick.
A week later, Iheanacho was foiled as his goal against Norwich was ruled out for handball.
In July, Leicester were punished for Wilfred Ndidi’s handball against Everton, with the resulting penalty scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson, and also benefited from seeing Eddie Nketiah sent off for Arsenal.
Spurs were left thanking VAR after Gabriel Jesus’ late winner for Manchester City was ruled out in August, while they saw decisions go both for (Ayoze Perez having a goal disallowed) and against (Serge Aurier’s effort suffering the same fate) them in the defeat at Leicester.
Sheffield United and West Ham both then had goals ruled out for offside against Spurs before the tables turned against Chelsea when the Blues were awarded a penalty and Son Heung-min was sent off.
Harry Kane then had a goal ruled out for offside against Brighton before Teemu Pukki suffered the same fate for Norwich against the north Londoners.
VAR then awarded Manchester City a penalty after Serge Aurier fouled Sergio Aguero, although Ilkay Gundogan did miss from the spot.
Spurs were awarded a penalty for Bjorn Engels’ foul on Steven Bergwijn in their 3-2 win over Aston Villa in February.
They were saved against Manchester United in June as a late penalty awarded for a foul on Bruno Fernandes was overturned, but saw goals against West Ham and Sheffield United ruled out.
It worked back in their favour a week later as Bournemouth saw a late goal disallowed for handball.
A brilliant bit of control from Teemu Pukki and the Finn thinks he's doubled Norwich's advantage but VAR intervenes and it's ruled out for offside.
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 28, 2019
Manchester City 0
Gabriel Jesus has seen two goals ruled out, against West Ham and Tottenham, although City were allowed to retake a penalty against the Hammers due to encroachment from Declan Rice, with Sergio Aguero converting from 12 yards.
Like Liverpool, City benefited from two decisions against Wolves, with a penalty awarded and then retaken after being missed when encroachment was spotted.
Sheffield United also had a goal disallowed for offside against City, but Pep Guardiola’s side did have a penalty given against them in the Manchester derby.
Phil Foden’s goal against Everton was ruled out and a penalty against Crystal Palace was cancelled, but VAR did award City a penalty against Tottenham.
Guardiola’s men were awarded another penalty against Leicester, only for Aguero to miss from the spot.
Since football has returned, City have had a penalty awarded against Burnley, only to see Fernandinho sent off against Chelsea for a deliberate handball on the goal-line which also led to him being sent off, while Mahrez’s goal against Liverpool was chalked off. City also saw the decision to award a penalty against Bournemouth overturned.
They have ended the season with decisions having balanced out after Onel Hernandez saw his goal for Norwich disallowed on the final day of the campaign.
VAR proved costly for Everton against Brighton as Michael Keane was deemed to have fouled Aaron Connolly, conceding a penalty, in the 3-2 defeat.
They then saw a penalty awarded to Leicester cancelled out by VAR before a Kelechi Iheanacho effort, originally ruled offside, was given as a 94th-minute winner.
The Toffees were relieved when Phil Foden’s goal was ruled out for offside but the boot was on the other foot when Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike against Brighton was disallowed for handball.
Calvert-Lewin was again left frustrated when his late ‘winner’ against Manchester United was chalked off for offside.
But VAR worked in their favour against Leicester in July as the Toffees were awarded a penalty against Leicester, converted by Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin watching Everton's disallowed goal back…
🗣"That is a disaster, oh my gosh, he's not even obstructing" pic.twitter.com/BgvPT6l3A3
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 1, 2020
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s goal against Manchester United was initially disallowed for offside, only to be awarded after a VAR referral.
But the Gunners were left to rue the system against Crystal Palace as the visitors were awarded a penalty after Wilfried Zaha was initially adjudged to have dived before Sokratis had a late goal ruled out.
Aubameyang was then allowed to retake a missed penalty after encroachment was spotted against Norwich before the Gunners moved back into the red when David Luiz had a goal disallowed for offside against Brighton.
VAR cost Arsenal against Palace for a third time when Aubameyang was sent off for a foul on Max Meyer.
It came to their rescue against West Ham as Alexandre Lacazette’s winner was allowed to stand after originally being disallowed for offside but was to blame for Eddie Nketiah’s red card against Leicester.
In their final match of the season, Arsenal were awarded a penalty against Watford for a foul by Craig Dawson on Lacazette.
VAR does NOT like Sokratis 😬 pic.twitter.com/ptF0HOwYYP
— Goal (@goal) October 28, 2019
Josh King’s goal against West Ham was ruled out for offside in Bournemouth’s first taste of VAR, but King then had a goal against West Ham given after being flagged offside.
Dan Gosling and Dan Burn then benefited in exactly the same way against Chelsea and Brighton before Norwich’s Ben Godfrey was sent off for a foul on Callum Wilson.
West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell looked to have been sent off against Bournemouth but VAR downgraded the red card to yellow.
And the Cherries were left to rue VAR twice against Burnley as King and Harry Wilson had goals ruled out, with the latter compounded by the decision to award the Clarets a penalty for a handball at the opposite end of the pitch in the build-up.
Since football’s restart, Bournemouth have seen a Callum Wilson goal ruled out against Tottenham, although they were given a reprieve against Manchester City when the decision to award a penalty against Steve Cook was overturned.
In their penultimate game before relegation, Bournemouth saw Southampton awarded a penalty and later had a goal from Sam Surridge ruled out in a costly 2-0 defeat.
Kurt Zouma and Cesar Azpilicueta have both had goals ruled out by VAR, against Norwich and Liverpool respectively, while Callum Hudson-Odoi had a penalty overturned after being adjudged to have dived against Burnley and Gerard Deulofeu had a penalty for Watford awarded following a trip by Jorginho.
Bournemouth were also awarded a winning goal at Stamford Bridge that had originally been given as offside, but Frank Lampard’s side did benefit from VAR when West Ham had a goal ruled out for handball.
Chelsea were also given a penalty and then had Son Heung-min sent off against them when they won at Spurs just before Christmas.
Against Manchester United, Zouma had another goal ruled out by VAR before Olivier Giroud’s goal was also disallowed in the same game.
Since football’s restart, the two VAR decisions involving Chelsea have both gone in their favour as Fernandinho was sent off for Manchester City and Tomas Soucek saw his goal disallowed for West Ham.
Watford were awarded a penalty against Chelsea and saw Sadio Mane’s goal for Liverpool ruled out for offside.
However, the Hornets had a penalty given against them against Burnley and Christian Kabasele received a red card against Wolves.
In February, Troy Deeney then saw a potential equaliser at Old Trafford disallowed for handball.
In their final game before suffering relegation, Watford conceded a penalty to Arsenal after Craig Dawson was judged to have fouled Alexandre Lacazette.
Aston Villa -3
Villa have also had two goals ruled out against Burnley this season, although only one proved costly.
John McGinn’s disallowed goal against Burnley meant Villa were held to a 2-2 draw in September, but they still managed to beat them 2-1 in January despite Jack Grealish having his goal ruled out.
The Villans were awarded a penalty against Sheffield United, only for Grealish to miss before Conor Hourihane had a goal disallowed against Brighton.
VAR then gave a penalty against Villa as Bjorn Engels was penalised for a foul on Steven Bergwijn against Tottenham. It then worked for and against Villa in their victory over Crystal Palace, ruling out Mamadou Sakho’s goal but also overturning a penalty awarded in Grealish’s favour.
West Ham -4
Manchester City, Brighton and Burnley all had goals ruled out against West Ham, but Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Brighton all had goals originally chalked off eventually given by VAR.
City were allowed to retake a missed penalty due to encroachment, which was subsequently converted by Sergio Aguero. But given that game ended 5-0, let’s not split hairs.
Declan Rice had a goal disallowed for offside against Spurs but Aaron Cresswell’s red card against Bournemouth was downgraded to a yellow card.
Michail Antonio saw goals ruled out for handball against Chelsea and Southampton before Robert Snodgrass also had a goal against Sheffield United disallowed for handball.
In their final game prior to lockdown, the Hammers saw Alexandre Lacazette’s originally ruled-out goal for Arsenal allowed to stand.
Since returning, they have had a Son Heung-min goal disallowed in their favour, only to see Tomas Soucek have his goal against Chelsea ruled out.
The Hammers were awarded a penalty at Old Trafford after VAR spotted Paul Pogba’s handball, much to the delight of Michail Antonio.
It’s even more remarkable how well Wolves are doing when you consider how much VAR has affected them.
Leander Dendoncker’s effort against Leicester in August and Raul Jimenez’s strike against Southampton in October were both ruled out, and then Wolves had four decisions go against them in the space of three days against Manchester City and Liverpool.
First City were awarded a penalty and then allowed to retake it after it was missed, and then Liverpool had a goal given after originally being ruled out for a handball before Pedro Neto’s goal for Wolves was then ruled out for offside.
VAR had been kinder to Wolves in 2020, sending off Watford’s Christian Kabasele and awarding them a penalty against Southampton.
However, it then disallowed Willy Boly’s goal against Leicester for an offside in build-up by Pedro Neto.
Tough to take.
"What is it an armpit that's offside, or a toe, or something like that?"
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) December 29, 2019
Sheffield United -5
Like Wolves, Sheffield United are impressing in spite of VAR.
The Blades have had goals against Southampton, Spurs, Brighton (2) and Manchester City ruled out while Joel Ward’s red card was rescinded. Newcastle also saw a goal originally given as offside subsequently allowed to stand.
They have had three decisions go in their favour: Chris Basham’s red card against Norwich was chalked off while Robert Snodgrass and Harry Kane have seen goals against the Blades ruled out for handball.
— GiveMeSport Football (@GMS__Football) December 29, 2019
Norwich City -7
Norwich benefited from their first taste of VAR when Kurt Zouma’s goal for Chelsea was ruled out, and they came out unscathed when Manchester United had two penalties awarded at Carrow Road following VAR referrals, only for Tim Krul to save them both.
Since then, however, Arsenal were allowed to retake a missed penalty following encroachment, Sheffield United’s Chris Basham had a red card rescinded, and then Teemu Pukki had a great goal against Spurs ruled out for a marginal offside.
Crystal Palace’s Connor Wickham had a goal awarded after it was originally ruled out for offside and Ben Godfrey was sent off for a foul on Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson following a VAR review.
VAR finally came to Norwich’s rescue when Kelechi Iheanacho saw his striker ruled out for handball as the Canaries beat Leicester.
A season in which Norwich have really done it tough was summed up in the final two matches, when Emi Buendia was sent off for an elbow against Burnley and Onel Hernandez saw a goal ruled out against Manchester City.