Manchester United: The ten times VAR saved them this season, featuring Liverpool


Manchester United have never exactly been liked by the majority of English football fans.

You could guarantee that thousands of supporters around the country would roll their eyes in unison whenever United were confirmed as champions during their dominance under Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, gone are the days of 13 Premier League trophies in 21 years and in are the times of fighting for Champions League places after sacking David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.

VARchester United?

We don't doubt for a second that rival fans have been revelling in United's post-Ferguson struggles, but dare we say that the Old Trafford club are showing signs that they're back...

Their recent resurgence under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hasn't been without controversy, though, with accusations of refereeing bias reaching the point that fans were playing 'penalty bingo' last week.

United have wracked up a Premier League record-equalling 13 penalties this season as well as receiving the most spot kicks (25) of any club over the last two campaigns by 11(!!!).


The damning statistics

And although they didn't win a penalty during Thursday night's win at Crystal Palace, Wilfried Zaha seemed to be inexplicably denied one and VAR chalked off Jordan Ayew's goal to boot.

So, it should come as no surprise that 'VARchester United' was doing the rounds on Twitter last night, but just how fortunate have Solskjaer's men really been? Errr, yeh, the answer is 'very'.

ESPN have been keeping track of how VAR has been affecting certain clubs and United have benefitted from 10 overturned decisions, which is the most in the entire Premier League.

They've also had the joint-most goals ruled out in their favour (7) alongside Brighton & Hove Albion.


Decisions in Man Utd's favour

But have the calls been justified? Well, the individual incidents have been named in all their glory, so check them out down below to see whether 'VARchester United' is out of order or simply spot on.

1. Sadio Mane goal ruled out for handball

Cor, why do footballers have to have arms? Am I right? The new handball rule might be tough, but there's no denying that Mane used a combination of his forearm and knee to control the ball.


2. Penalty awarded vs Norwich #1

One of the least controversial decisions here, though Norwich were reprieved anyway as Tim Krul denied Marcus Rashford down to his right-hand side.


3. Penalty awarded vs Norwich #2

Todd Cantwell was asking for trouble turning his back and raising his arm, in fairness.


4. Penalty awarded vs Manchester City

United players have been accused of going down too easily this season which, to be honest, has been justified at times, but we're with Gary Neville in thinking this was a 'stonewall' spot kick.


5. Roberto Firmino goal ruled out for foul

David de Gea was a very lucky boy here. This would have stood in Roy Keane's day if nothing else.


6. Kurt Zouma goal ruled out for foul

This all comes down to how much you think Fred pushed Cesar Azpilicueta into Brandon Williams. Neville was inclined to think he didn't, but take from that what you will.


7. Olivier Giroud goal ruled out for offside

God, Olivier, why didn't you just hold your foot back a few more inches? A tough decision on Chelsea, for sure, but perhaps Harry Maguire escaping a red card for kicking out at Michy Batshuayi was more egregious.


8. Troy Deeney goal ruled out for handball

As much as the new handball rules are the harshest thing this side of a Jose Mourinho press conference, Craig Cathcart did essentially set up the goal with his bicep.


9. Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal ruled out for offside

Let's just say you can understand why Carlo Ancelotti lost his head at full-time...


10. Jordan Ayew goal ruled out for offside

I guess if Ayew had trimmed his toe nails on Thursday morning, he might have been fine. For better or for worse, this would have stood in the pre-VAR era, no doubt about it.


GIVEMESPORT's Kobe Tong says

Whether or not you agree with the decisions, there can be no denying that United have benefited from VAR, which is not necessarily a bad thing, we hastened to add.

The technology is there to ensure that incorrect decisions or missed incidents are aptly addressed in the interest of a fair game... but the stats are admittedly worrying.

Now, I'm not here to pedal conspiracy theories that the FA are crouched over their keyboards in a sweat-inducing scramble to give United as many points as possible. Yeh, no. 


But it can't be denied that human error and unconscious bias will forever feed into these sort of things and the statistics in United's favour are strange to say the very least.

If it was just that they had the most penalties or just the most goals ruled out for them or just the most VAR decisions in their favour, then perhaps it could be brushed off, but all three?

It's got be coincidence, at least for my sanity, but you can understand why rival fans are miffed. 

News Now - Sport News