Ranking the Premier League clubs by who is most affected by VAR in 2020-21
The use of VAR continues to cause controversy in the Premier League – but which clubs have been most affected most by its use this season?
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.
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.
Everton enjoyed a great start to the season on and off the pitch, benefitting from three VAR decisions in the first five league games.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s equalising goal against West Brom was awarded by VAR after it was originally ruled out for offside.
The Toffees were then given a controversial penalty in their 2-1 win over Crystal Palace when Joel Ward was adjudged to have handled Lucas Digne’s knockdown.
VAR came to Everton’s rescue once again during their game against Liverpool, ruling out Jordan Henderson’s late goal for offside.
The first VAR decision that didn’t go in their favour in 2020-21 came against Chelsea as they had a penalty cancelled for offside.
Andre Gomes thought he had conceded a penalty for a foul on Leicester City’s Ayoze Perez but VAR then overturned the decision.
Jordan Henderson's derby-winning goal is wiped out by the VAR decision. pic.twitter.com/yoF0gTO7uQ
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) October 17, 2020
Sheffield United +3
The Blades looked set to lose their first five games of the season until VAR gave them a late penalty against Fulham for a foul on Jack Robinson.
They also had a penalty awarded by VAR against Liverpool and saw Mohamed Salah’s strike ruled out for offside.
Chris Wilder’s side have endured an awful start to the season and their problems got even worse when John Lundstram was sent off for a challenge on Brighton’s Joel Veltman.
They finally got their first league win of 2020-21 in January when Newcastle United’s Federico Fernandez was penalised for handball and Billy Sharp scored from the spot.
VAR saved goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell further embarrassment during the 5-0 defeat against Manchester City, as his own-goal was ruled out due to Gabriel Jesus being offside.
They also had a one-man advantage against Arsenal after Granit Xhaka was sent off for violent conduct on Ashley Westwood.
Robbie Brady was booked for a last-ditch challenge on Manchester United’s Edinson Cavani but it was rescinded after VAR spotted a foul by Luke Shaw in the build-up.
Despite benefiting from three VAR decisions in their first two league games, Southampton still failed to pick up a single point from those fixtures.
Kyle Walker-Peters was shown a red card for a high boot on Crystal Palace’s Tyrick Mitchell, but the decision was rescinded by VAR in their opening match.
Tottenham’s Harry Kane had an early goal ruled out for offside against the Saints, while Danny Ings scored a late consolation after VAR awarded a penalty for handball against Matt Doherty.
They looked to have taken an early lead against Aston Villa but the goal was chalked off after VAR ruled that Che Adams was offside.
Ings scored a later winner from the penalty spot against Brighton after Solly March was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Walker-Peters inside the area.
Theo Walcott then thought he’d grabbed a late winner against Fulham but it was disallowed for offside against Che Adams in the build-up.
Despite originally being shown a yellow card, Andreas Christensen was sent off for bringing down Sadio Mane during Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.
Chelsea thought they had conceded a second penalty against Everton before VAR intervened and cancelled the spot-kick due to an offside call.
Wolves were also awarded a penalty against Frank Lampard’s side but the referee reversed is decision after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.
Tammy Abraham’s consolation goal against Arsenal was originally ruled out for offside but it was allowed to stand following a VAR review.
The Blues were originally awarded a penalty following Jonny Evans’ foul on Christian Pulisic but VAR deemed that the challenge was outside of the penalty area.
Red or yellow?
Did the referee get it right with Andreas Christensen's dismissal?
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 20, 2020
Brighton benefitted from more VAR decisions than any other team in 2019-20 and Neal Maupay’s goal against Newcastle was allowed to stand after originally being ruled out for offside.
VAR then went against them by upgrading Yves Bissouma’s yellow card to a red card in the closing stages at St James’ Park.
Aaron Connolly thought he had won a penalty against Manchester United, only for the referee to reverse his decision after watching the incident on the pitchside monitor.
Brighton were relieved when Marcus Rashford’s goal was ruled out for offside, but United were awarded a penalty after the full-time whistle had gone for a handball by Maupay.
They conceded another penalty against Tottenham when VAR adjudged that Adam Lallana’s foul on Harry Kane was inside the area.
The Seagulls have had four decisions go their way since then. The first was a penalty that was rescinded after Solly March was initially adjudged to have fouled Trezeguet.
That was followed up by Liverpool having two goals disallowed before Brighton were awarded the penalty that Pascal Gross converted to earn a draw.
VAR then came back to haunt them against Southampton, awarding a late penalty to the visitors after Solly March was adjudged to have fouled Kyle Walker-Peters inside the area.
Adam Lallana’s goal against Fulham was disallowed due to a handball in the build-up but VAR did give Sheffield United’s John Lundstram a red card for a challenge on Joel Veltman.
Leeds United +1
Leeds’ first experience with VAR in the Premier League went in their favour as Romain Saiss’ goal for Wolves was disallowed for offside in the build-up.
However, Mateusz Klich was penalised for a foul on James Maddison in the box to concede a penalty against Leicester City and Patrick Bamford saw his equaliser against Crystal Palace controversially ruled out for offside.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were given a one-man advantage against Arsenal, when Pepe was sent off for headbutting Alioski, following one of the shortest VAR checks all season.
Klich had VAR to thank for saving his blushes after he was given the opportunity to re-take a missed penalty against West Ham due to encroachment.
Newcastle were left frustrated by VAR when they saw Neal Maupay’s originally ruled-out goal for Brighton allowed to stand during their first home game of the season.
In the Magpies favour, Yves Bissouma was sent off late on for a dangerous challenge on Jamal Lewis, having initially been shown a yellow card by the referee.
They also scored an injury-time equaliser against Tottenham in September after Eric Dier was penalised for handball.
In their 4-1 defeat to Manchester United, VAR disallowed a Bruno Fernandes goal for offside but also gave the visitors a penalty for Jamal Lewis’ foul on Marcus Rashford.
The referee gave Newcastle a penalty against Fulham and went to the pitchside monitor before sending Joachim Andersen off having initially shown no card.
They then conceded a penalty following Federico Fernandez’s handball against Sheffield United and became the first Premier League side to lose to the Blades in 2020-21.
🎙 – "Whoever is in involved in this – stop it. You're ruining football." @Carra23 is 𝙣𝙤𝙩 happy with the decision to give this as a penalty – your thoughts? 🤔
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) September 27, 2020
West Ham +1
The newly happy Hammers were already home and dry at Leicester, but their clean sheet was preserved when VAR overturned a late Harvey Barnes goal – Jamie Vardy had encroached into an offside position during the build-up.
Diogo Jota’s goal for Liverpool was ruled out due to a foul by Sadio Mane, only for Jota to score the winner moments later.
VAR awarded an injury-time penalty to Fulham after Said Benrahma fouled Tom Cairney but Ademola Lookman’s panenka was saved by Lukasz Fabianski.
David Moyes’ side were incredibly relieved when Ollie Watkins’ late equaliser for Aston Villa was disallowed due to a marginal offside call.
Lukasz Fabianski was penalised for encroachment against Leeds and Mateusz Klich then scored the re-taken penalty.
Crystal Palace +1
Southampton were temporarily reduced to 10 men at Selhurst Park, only for Kyle Walker-Peters’ red card to be rescinded by VAR.
Palace benefited from two decisions against Manchester United, with a penalty awarded and then retaken after being missed when encroachment was spotted.
But they were left to rue the system against Everton as the visitors won thanks to a controversial penalty that was awarded for handball.
Fulham’s Aboubakar Kamara was originally shown a yellow card for a foul on Eberechi Eze but it was upgraded to a red following a VAR review.
Palace thought they had a penalty against Wolves but VAR spotted an offside in the build-up and Luka Milivojevic was also sent off in the same game.
Roy Hodgson’s side were relieved when Patrick Bamford’s equaliser for Leeds was disallowed for offside due to the striker’s outstretched arm.
Palace cruised to a 5-1 win away at West Brom in December after Matheus Pereira was sent off for a challenge on Patrick van Aanholt in the first half.
Leicester’s winning start was unceremoniously ended by West Ham in their fourth match and Brendan Rodgers’ team were denied a late consolation due to VAR’s intervention. Jamie Vardy strayed offside during the build-up to Harvey Barnes’ goal.
VAR gave the Foxes penalties in consecutive games against Leeds United and Wolves but it then awarded Fulham a penalty against Brendan Rodgers’ side.
They had a penalty cancelled by VAR during their defeat to Everton but were awarded a spot-kick in their game against Tottenham.
James Maddison thought he’d doubled their lead against Spurs but his goal was ruled out for a very marginal offside call.
Jonny Evans was extremely relieved when VAR confirmed that his foul on Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic was outside the area and the penalty was changed to a free-kick.
Fulham have endured a difficult start to the season and four VAR decisions have gone against them.
Bobby Decordova-Reid’s goal against Aston Villa was disallowed for offside while Sheffield United scored a late equaliser from the penalty spot after Aleksandar Mitrovic fouled Jack Robinson.
Aboubakar Kamara came off the bench against Crystal Palace but was sent off for foul on Eberechi Eze after a VAR review.
VAR looked to have come to Fulham’s rescue against West Ham, only for Ademola Lookman to miss his penalty in injury time.
They were awarded another penalty by VAR against Leicester City and Ivan Cavaleiro made no mistake from the spot.
Scott Parker was relieved when Brighton’s Adam Lallana and Southampton’s Theo Walcott both had goals against Fulham disallowed by VAR in December.
However, the managed did lash out at VAR after Joachim Andersen was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity against Newcastle.
Manchester City 0
VAR awarded City a penalty for handball against Liverpool’s Joe Gomez but Kevin De Bruyne dragged his effort wide in the 1-1 draw.
Jesus once kicked over a VAR screen in frustration and this may be haunting the Brazilian, as he had a goal disallowed for handball against Spurs before being caught offside for Bailey Peacock-Farrell’s own-goal, which was chalked off.
Kyle Walker was penalised for a foul on Man Utd’s Marcus Rashford but VAR came to their rescue and cancelled the penalty due to an offside call.
Manchester United -1
United’s first taste of VAR in 2020-21 saw Victor Lindelof concede a penalty for handball against Crystal Palace in their opening game.
David de Gea saved Andre Ayew’s original penalty, only for VAR to ask for the spot-kick to be re-taken due to encroachment.
Marcus Rashford’s goal against Brighton was ruled out for offside but a penalty awarded to Graham Potter’s side was overturned by VAR.
The Red Devils were then awarded a penalty of their own when Neal Maupay handled from a Harry Maguire header.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had a goal ruled out for offside against Newcastle United but they later had a penalty awarded for a foul on Rashford.
The Red Devils benefited twice from VAR against West Brom, as Bruno Fernandes’ foul on Conor Gallagher in the box was overturned before the Portuguese midfielder was allowed to re-take his penalty due to an encroachment from Sam Johnstone.
United were originally given a penalty against Man City when Rashford was fouled by Kyle Walker in the box but VAR showed the forward was offside.
During their 1-0 win over Burnley, United thought Robbie Brady was going to be sent off, but his yellow card was rescinded and Luke Shaw was shown a yellow card for a foul in the build-up.
Incredible drama as Man Utd beat Brighton with 99 minutes on the clock 😮
The referee had blown the final whistle, only for VAR to award a penalty for a clear handball…
Bruno Fernandes buries it to win 3-2. pic.twitter.com/CP7bKhGLn7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 26, 2020
Aston Villa -1
Villa have enjoyed a fine start to the season, aided by a disallowed goal in their favour at Fulham. Ten minutes into the second half a Bobby Decordova-Reid goal was disallowed for foul in the build-up by Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Ezri Konsa’s own goal in their 4-3 defeat against Southampton was also disallowed for offside against Che Adams.
VAR then went against them by ruling out John McGinn’s goal against Arsenal as Ross Barkley was adjudged to be offside and obstructing Bernd Leno.
Dean Smith’s side were denied the chance to earn a late point against Brighton after the penalty awarded to Trezeguet was overturned.
Villa’s celebrations after Ollie Watkins’ late equaliser against West Ham were shortlived as VAR disallowed the goal for offside.
Watkins had another goal ruled out by VAR against West Brom but it did send off Jake Livermore for a high tackle on Jack Grealish.
No wonder Jose Mourinho doesn’t like VAR. Harry Kane’s goal against Southampton was disallowed for offside and the Saints were later awarded an injury-time penalty following Matt Doherty’s handball.
A week later, Spurs were penalised for an Eric Dier handball, allowing Newcastle United to score an injury-time equaliser from the penalty spot.
Mourinho’s side finally had a VAR decision go in their favour against Brighton as they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Kane.
They were helped out by the technology as Jose Mourinho overcame Pep Guardiola, with Gabriel Jesus having a goal ruled out for offside.
Spurs conceded another penalty against Leicester but VAR did rule out James Maddison’s goal for offside.
🏴 Spurs striker Harry Kane defended the decision to award Tottenham Hotspur a penalty during the 2-1 Premier League win over Brighton:
— Last Word On Spurs🎙 (@LastWordOnSpurs) November 4, 2020
Wolves were left disappointed when Romain Saiss’ goal against Leeds was disallowed for offside but VAR worked in their favour against Crystal Palace.
Palace had a penalty cancelled for offside and VAR also sent off Luka Milivojevic for a challenge on Joao Moutinho.
Nuno Espirito Santo was left ruing VAR after his side fell foul to a harsh handball decision against Max Kilman in their 1-0 defeat to Leicester.
Wolves were originally awarded penalties against Liverpool and Chelsea, but the referees overturned their original decisions after reviewing the incidents on the pitchside monitor.
Arsenal looked to have conceded after just 45 seconds against Aston Villa but John McGinn’s goal was disallowed by VAR for offside.
Nicolas Pepe was sent off following a very swift VAR check after he headbutted Leeds United’s Ezgjan Alioski.
The Gunners clearly didn’t learn their lesson as Granit Xhaka received a red card for grabbing Burnley’s Ashley Westwood by the throat.
Mikel Arteta’s side didn’t get a clean sheet in their win over Chelsea as Tammy Abraham’s goal was awarded after an incorrect offside call.
🟥 | RED CARD!
Granit Xhaka is sent off for violent conduct after grabbing Ashley Westwood by the throat! 😳
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 13, 2020
West Brom -4
Slaven Bilic made a furious on-field protest after Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s originally ruled-out goal for Everton in September was allowed to stand following a VAR review.
The Baggies then had a goal ruled out against the Red Devils, before Fernandes was allowed to re-take the penalty that resulted in the game’s only goal.
West Brom were left to rue VAR yet again when Matheus Pereira sent off for a challenge on Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt.
Jake Livermore was sent off for a high tackle on Jack Grealish during the West Midlands derby before Villa’s Ollie Watkins had a goal ruled out for offside.
Liverpool enjoyed a comfortable 2-0 win over Chelsea after referee Paul Tierney consulted the pitchside monitor and gave Andreas Christensen a red card for his challenge on Sadio Mane.
During their game against Sheffield United, Sander Berge gave the visitors the lead from the penalty spot, after VAR adjudged Fabinho to have fouled Oli McBurnie inside the area.
VAR has ruined their celebrations on three separate occasions this season with Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota all having goals ruled out.
Joe Gomez was then penalised for a handball against Manchester City, but he was able to breathe a sigh of relief when Kevin De Bruyne missed his penalty.
Liverpool’s worst game with VAR came against Brighton, as they had two goals disallowed before the Seagulls were awarded a late penalty.
VAR worked in their favour against Wolves as the referee originally awarded a penalty against Liverpool but overturned his decision after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.