VAR has caused no shortage of controversy in the Premier League.
When the divisive technology was first wheeled out for the 2019/20 season, it felt as though each and every weekend produced a dodgy decision that had fans wondering why it was ever introduced.
From splitting hairs with inexplicable offside lines to incomprehensibly brutal handball laws, VAR had supporters tearing their hair out on social media and even staging protests at games.
VAR’s impact in the Premier League
However, to the credit of the lawmakers and officials up and down the country, the technology has been tweaked and refined to the point where uproar has become more and more uncommon.
But VAR encroaching less on the fan experience doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been used more sparingly because it has still made an irreversible impact on the 2021/22 campaign.
West Ham 3-2 Liverpool Reaction (Football Terrace)
A record weekend
As such, VAR has now reversed 44 calls from the opening 110 games of the season, which is only a minimal decline on the 50 decisions that were chalked off at the same point last term.
Interestingly, West Ham United and Liverpool have had the most decisions overturned in their favour at four, while Newcastle United have seen a league-topping six verdicts changed against them.
So, naturally, all this begs the question as to what the Premier League table would look like without VAR and how much certain clubs have the technology to thank for their current league position.
Premier League table without VAR
Well, fear not, because The Sun have answered that very question with their analysis showing some of the major changes that would occur across the table if we were living in the pre-2019/20 era.
It makes for great reading if you’re a Leicester or Everton fan, but Tottenham and Brighton & Hove Albion supporters might want to look away. You can check out the full table down below:
20. Norwich City – 5 points (=)
Actual table: 20th, 5 points
19. Aston Villa – 8 points (-2)
Actual table: 16th, 10 points
18. Newcastle United – 9 points (+4)
Actual table: 19th, 5 points
17. Burnley – 11 points (+3)
Actual table: 18th, 8 points
16. Watford – 12 points (+2)
Actual table: 17th, 10 points
15. Leeds United – 12 points (+1)
Actual table: 15th, 11 points
14. Tottenham Hotspur – 13 points (-3)
Actual table: 9th, 16 points
13. Brighton & Hove Albion – 13 points (-4)
Actual table: 7th, 17 points
12. Brentford – 14 points (+2)
Actual table: 14th, 12 points
11. Southampton – 15 points (+1)
Actual table: 13th, 14 points
10. Crystal Palace – 15 points (=)
Actual table: 10th, 15 points
9. Manchester United – 16 points (-1)
Actual table: 6th, 17 points
8. Leicester City – 17 points (+2)
Actual table: 12th, 15 points
7. Wolverhampton Wanderers – 17 points (+1)
Actual table: 8th, 16 points
6. Arsenal – 18 points (-2)
Actual table: 5th, 20 points
5. Everton – 18 points (+3)
Actual table: 11th, 15 points
4. Manchester City – 22 points (-1)
Actual table: 2nd, 23 points
3. Liverpool – 22 points (=)
Actual table: 4th, 22 points
2. West Ham United – 23 points (=)
Actual table: 3rd, 23 points
1. Chelsea – 28 points (+2)
Actual table: 1st, 26 points
Major changes without VAR
So, Chelsea would still be leading the way and Norwich would still be bringing up the rear, but it just goes to show how tight the mid-table regions are that so many alterations have happened.
Besides, the absence of VAR would only actually benefit Leicester by a handful of points, but that’s enough to take the heat off Brendan Rodgers by skyrocketing them from 12th place to up in 8th.
Meanwhile, Rafael Benitez finds himself laughing his way to a six-place upgrade, while Antonio Conte would have to try and raise Tottenham from the deep, dark depths of the bottom seven.
And who knows, maybe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would be without a job because clearly he has VAR to thank for an extra three places and a point.
Ok, sure, so it’s ultimately an exercise in hypotheticals and subjectivity, but the point remains the same in that Premier League football has been impacted hugely – for better or for worse – by VAR.
I guess whether or not you’re glad about it depends on who you support.